Manchin Says He Won't Vote for Build Back Better

'I just can't,' West Virginia Democrat says, possibly dooming the legislation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2021 10:10 AM CST
Manchin Says He Won't Vote for Build Back Better
Sen. Joe Manchin, shown Friday in the Capitol, announced his opposition to the Build Back Better Act on Sunday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

There's no point in Democrats making changes to President Biden's Build Back Better legislation in hopes of winning Sen. Joe Manchin's support. The West Virginia Democrat announced Sunday that he won't vote for the bill, the Hill reports. "I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation, I just can't," Manchin said. "I tried everything humanly possible, I can't get there." He made the revelation in an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News Sunday. "You're done, this is a no," Baier responded. "This is a no," Manchin confirmed.

Democrats need Manchin's vote to pass the overhaul of health care, education, immigration, climate change, and tax policies, and one supporter pushed back on Manchin immediately. "I think he's going to have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia," Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN. He wants a floor vote to get Manchin's opposition on the record. "Let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn't have the guts to stand up to the powerful special interests," Sanders said on State of the Union, mentioning the pharmaceutical industry. Manchin also is opposed to the part of the bill that encourages the switch to clean energy; he's politically and financially tied to the coal industry.

Biden and Democratic leaders have been negotiating with Manchin "for month after month after month," Sanders said. The changes the holdout insisted on, mostly citing inflation, would have imperiled Democrats' delivery on their campaign promises anyway. They'd already had to miss the deadline to preserve a law calling for payments to 35 million families with children, per the Washington Post. After his interview, Manchin issued a statement suggesting he'd continue negotiations, though he repeated his opposition to "this mammoth piece of legislation." The White House did not issue a comment. (Read more Build Back Better Act stories.)

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