‘No conversations’: Manchin says Build Back Better talks are off with fellow Dems

Even after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) clearly signaled his opposition to President Joe Biden’s signature Build Back Better spending agenda, some Democratic leaders held out hope that the party would unite behind a bill.

In a statement on Tuesday, however, the West Virginia senator reasserted that he is against the proposal, noting that there had been “no conversations” on the matter since he first made his position known last month.

“So that’s where we are on that”

Manchin addressed a group of reporters in the Senate building on Tuesday and fielded one question regarding whether there were any ongoing negotiations.

“There’s been no conversation after I made my statement,” he said. “I was very clear, I feel as strongly today as I did then that the unknown with COVID — here we are.”

The senator pointed to a surging infection rate, economic inflation, and “geopolitical unrest” as factors that should be addressed in any major spending plan.

“These are all challenges, and these are all expensive challenges,” Manchin said. “So that’s where we are on that.”

Aside from its overall cost, Manchin also used the media briefing to address some specific concerns about the provisions included in the Build Back Better framework.

“I thought it was time to do that”

The West Virginia Democrat stuck to his earlier position regarding whether the child tax credit should be extended, saying: “I’ve been basically very clear on that. I think there should be a work requirement.”

In light of the absence of negotiations, one reporter asked Manchin if he would be interested in resuming such talks with his fellow Democrats.

“I’ve never turned down talks with anybody,” he responded. “I really haven’t. I was very clear on where I stand, and I thought it was time to do that, rather than just continue on and on as we have for five and a half months.”

Although he provided quite a bit of information to reporters, he reached his limit on queries regarding his stance on the spending bill.

“I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better anymore because I think I’ve been very clear on that,” he told one reporter. “There is no negotiations going on at this time.”

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