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Manchin blames White House staff for breakdown in Biden bill talks

EconomyDec 20, 2021 07:50PM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) returns to a basement office meeting with other senators that included Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2021. REUTERS/El

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said on Monday that White House staff did "inexcusable" things that led to his decision to publicly reject President Joe Biden's social and climate policy plan, a move that imperils the legislation.

Manchin made the comments during an interview on West Virginia MetroNews radio, after telling Fox News on Sunday he would not https://www.reuters.com/world/us/senator-manchin-says-he-is-no-bidens-domestic-investment-bill-fox-interview-2021-12-19 be able to vote for the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill.

Manchin said he would not say "the real reason" talks failed.

But when asked what that was, he said: "The bottom line is ... it's staff. It's staff purely. ... It's not the president. It's staff. And they drove some things and put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday that Manchin's halting negotiations on the bill would represent a "sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate."

Manchin's move prompted Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) to lower its forecasts https://www.reuters.com/markets/funds/goldman-sachs-cuts-us-gdp-forecast-after-manchin-retreats-bidens-bill-2021-12-20 for U.S. economic growth.

A Manchin aide called the White House shortly before the senator's Fox interview, people familiar with the matter said. The White House was unable to reach the senator directly in response before he announced on air that he was done with the discussions.

Biden and Manchin spoke on Sunday night, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, leading to some hope that talks can continue in the new year on cordial terms.

Manchin has voiced concerns with a number of proposals in Biden's signature domestic policy bill, including multiple climate proposals and extending monthly child tax credit payments https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-sends-final-poverty-busting-monthly-child-tax-credit-payment-2021-12-15, which Columbia University said lifted 3.6 million children out of poverty in October.

The senator has also been frustrated by statements from the administration singling him out as an obstacle, according to a person familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Manchin has blocked its passing for weeks https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-congress-november-agenda-not-faint-heart-2021-11-01; a Dec. 16 statement https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/12/16/statement-from-the-president-on-the-build-back-better-act from Biden mentioned Manchin by name, saying "I believe that we will bridge our differences" in the "ongoing" discussions.

A proposal outline Manchin submitted to the White House last week included $1.8 trillion in funding over 10 years, as Biden had hoped, but no child tax credit, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Manchin's support is crucial in a chamber where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday he plans to move forward with a vote early next year anyway.

During the interview on Monday, Manchin said he told Schumer in July that he would only support $1.5 trillion in spending, or up to $1.75 trillion with improved tax reform elements.

The current proposal is too close to the initial one, he said. Every time Manchin and the White House took something out, the bill went back to the House of Representatives and "they put everything back in," he said.

A leading liberal House Democrat, Representative Pramila Jayapal, offered a scathing appraisal of her colleague.

"That lack of integrity is stunning in a town where people say the only thing you have is your word."

Manchin blames White House staff for breakdown in Biden bill talks
 

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Comments (9)
HD HD
HD HD Dec 20, 2021 7:38PM ET
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Manchin was heard saying folks use child tax credits to buy drugs. a problem created by his own daughter.
Iam Suleman
YesomiteSam Dec 20, 2021 7:37PM ET
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Manchin is on an incredible ego trip.  If the bill passes, he will not be in news anymore so why not keep changing goal posts and keep yourself in news as long as you can.  Also, it helps his war chest for next election because he is getting a ton of donations from those opposed to Climate change provisions in the bill.  It's a win win for him.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Dec 20, 2021 5:53PM ET
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More proof that Biden is only a puppet.
Millennial Dip Buyer
Millennial Dip Buyer Dec 20, 2021 4:36PM ET
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Spending our way out of trouble hasn't worked yet, and to date government spending has only further increased inequality and precariously stabilized things.  I'm not sure how this will enhance economic growth when there's already a huge issue with supply bottlenecks, COVID restrictions, inflation, under-reported unemployment numbers and many Americans simply choosing to not work.  If nobody feels it's worth the effort to work and none of these 'hit the shovel' jobs being much more than labour positions, what good will it really do?
Tom Canecchia
Golfnut Dec 20, 2021 4:29PM ET
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40% of the US dollar in circulation ia since covid. printing another 3.5 trlllion. not a good answer for infaltion. never mind all the pork in the bill.
HD HD
HD HD Dec 20, 2021 4:29PM ET
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can't wait to here what you say when inflation numbers one year from now will be in non existent lol.
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon Dec 20, 2021 4:29PM ET
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HD HD prices will never go down, only stop going up so fast
Mike Tramontano
Mike Tramontano Dec 20, 2021 11:42AM ET
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Manchin refuses to see the bigger picture. He only worries about his state's coal dependency and his own coal investments. His state will be better off with Biden's policies but his is too far into the coal industry's pocket.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Dec 20, 2021 11:08AM ET
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Not surprising with the Biden team; one more example of their immortality and ineptitude. People need to realize they are not as honourable and compassionate as they like to appear, far from it.
jason xx
jason xx Dec 20, 2021 10:49AM ET
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Bought Juror
IceIce Baby
IceIceBaby Dec 20, 2021 10:47AM ET
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:)) What an excuse! Be a man instead and say "I just didn't like it!"
 
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