U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has received harsh criticism from within his own party after announcing earlier this month that he would not be supporting President Joe Biden’s massive Build Back Better spending agenda.
According to his subsequent statements, however, the West Virginia Democrat appears to be offering progressive Democrats some hope that he might consider reversing course.
“I knew what they could and could not do,” he said in reference to supporters of the nearly $2 trillion domestic spending plan, according to Politico.
“I’m not from where they’re from”
Instead of working to find compromise on the issue, Manchin complained that progressive Democrats assumed that they would be able to “badger and beat up” one holdout in the party.
“Well, guess what?” he said, as Politico reported. “I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, [where] they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive.”
Manchin received fierce pushback from liberals on his side of the aisle, including comments from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who tweeted: “Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bulls***. The people of West Virginia would directly benefit from childcare, pre-Medicare expansion, and long term care, just like Minnesotans. This is exactly what we warned would happen if we separated Build Back Better from infrastructure.”
Progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders similarly took aim at Manchin during a recent CNN interview.
“If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world,” Sanders told State of the Union host Jake Tapper.
“It needs to go through a process”
Although Manchin still maintains that he remains “way far apart philosophically” from most of his Democratic colleagues, he nonetheless expressed some willingness to restart negotiations in good faith.
“I won’t continue to go down everything you want to do, major policy changes and reconciliation,” he declared, according to Politico. “It needs to go through a process.”
Specifically, Manchin signaled that he would potentially be open to supporting a new version of the Build Back Better bill if it went through the Senate committee process and centered on scrapping the 2017 tax cuts implemented by then-President Donald Trump.
Shortly after the senator declared his opposition to the legislation, Biden offered some optimism of his own, telling reporters: “Senator Manchin and I are going to get something done.”