Although Senate Republicans are united against President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better spending plan, it appears that a Democrat dealt the partisan proposal its final blow.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) shocked some in his own party this week by announcing that he would not vote for the bill as written.
“He will have a lot of explaining to do”
Without Manchin’s vote in an evenly divided Senate, the nearly $2 trillion bill appears to be doomed.
Meanwhile, Biden’s popularity continues trending downward and his legislative agenda is mostly stalled on Capitol Hill. As a result, some prominent progressives have taken direct aim at Manchin.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sounded off on his colleague during a CNN appearance on Sunday, asserting: “He will have a lot of explaining to do to the people of with West Virginia to tell him he doesn’t have the guts to take on the drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs, why he is not prepared to expand home health care.”
Sanders notably neglected to mention Manchin’s concerns about the impact of the bill on inflation.
While some aspects of the bill, including lowering prescription drug costs and expanding home health care, might be popular across various segments of society, Biden is pushing a massive proposal that critics say is packed with partisan pork.
“Compassion for the American people and not contempt”
Of course, Sanders was not the only Democrat to offer harsh criticism of Manchin.
Rep. Ayanna Pressly (D-MA) also appeared on CNN this week, declaring: “All I want for Christmas is a senator that has compassion for the American people and not contempt.”
As for whether Manchin holds contempt for the American people, that subject remains up for debate. Based on his economic arguments against the Build Back Better bill, however, it appears that he at least believes Americans are smart enough to identify the potential risks.
With Democrats poised to likely lose their slim majority in Congress after next year’s midterm elections, this might be the last chance for Biden to pass major legislation during his current term in office. As such, it makes sense that progressives in the party are upset over Manchin’s obstruction.
Senate Republicans, on the other hand, are clearly on board with Manchin’s stance. As Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently asserted: “It was an exciting thing to hear. Great shot in the arm for the country. I think it’s exactly what the country needed at this particular time.”