By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge
Update (1515ET): Manchin on Monday laid out possible changes to the $2 trillion Build Back Better economic agenda which might encourage him to reverse his “no” on the legislation.
For starters, Manchin said he would only support a $1.75 trillion bill that seriously overhauls the US tax code, and that significantly lowers the cost of a broader array of prescription drugs vs. the current offering.
“If you’re going to negotiate then negotiate. Don’t start picking and choosing and playing games,” he said.
He also wants work requirements for benefits, such as expanded child tax credits, as well as a means test which would cut off people making over $200,000 per year.
Manchin’s vision for the child tax credit is at odds with Biden’s pledge to not raise taxes on those earning less than $400,000. Manchin suggested scaling back the tax benefit for those earning between $200,000 and $400,000. He said he didn’t believe that parents who didn’t earn any income should be able to get the credit, a revision that would reverse a change Democrats made to the benefit earlier this year.
Even if those changes are made, Manchin indicated he has other issues with the bill and how it’s been pushed through Congress. – Bloomberg
The West Virginia moderate also said he wants the bill to be run through several Senate committees that would examine its effects, and he’s also rejected attempts to fast-track “major policy changes” that would bypass the GOP filibuster.
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Update (1034ET): Sen. Joe Manchin said during a local radio interview that Joe Biden’s staff did some ‘inexcusable’ things which drove him to reject the Build Back Better plan.
On statewide WV radio, explaining his decision to buck BBB, Manchin says Biden staffers alienated him.
"They drove some things, and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. They know what it is, and that's it," he says on @HoppyKercheval's MetroNews program.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) December 20, 2021
Manchin takes a shot at WH staff. "This is not the president — this is staff.. They drove some things that are absolutely in excusable."
"I just got to the wit's end of what happened."
He won't say if he'll accept scaled-back bill. Says it needs to go through committees first
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 20, 2021
“They figured surely to God we can move one person. We surely can badger and beat one person up. Surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough that they’ll just say, ‘OK I’ll vote for anything,'” Manchin continued. “Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period.”
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Progressive Democrats are livid at moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) for killing the Biden administration’s $2 trillion Build Back Better plan over the weekend.
“Our entire democracy is on the line,” tweeted congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday. “We, as always, are here to fight for this agenda. What matters most to us is that it gets done,” she added. “But we cannot just shrug our shoulders and accept this as some Charlie Brown moment.”
“So we need to get back in there and get this s*** done. Period.”
We, as always, are here to fight for this agenda. What matters most to us is that it gets done. But we cannot just shrug our shoulders and accept this as some Charlie Brown moment.
Our entire democracy is on the line. So we need to get back in there & get this sh*t done. Period
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 19, 2021
AOC then called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to ‘immediately’ schedule a vote.
“hey forced folks to go on record with [the bipartisan infrastructure bill], they can force the Senate to go on record with BBB,” AOC tweeted later on Sunday.
Meanwhile, House Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted: “Honestly, I’m frustrated with every Democrat who agreed to tie the fate of our most vulnerable communities to the corporatist ego of one Senator.”
“No one should have backed out of our initial strategy that would have kept Build Back Better alive.”
Honestly, I’m frustrated with every Democrat who agreed to tie the fate of our most vulnerable communities to the corporatist ego of one Senator. No one should have backed out of our initial strategy that would have kept Build Back Better alive.@POTUS, you need to fix this.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 19, 2021
Squad member Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also chimed in, tweeting: “Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bulls**t,” adding “The people of West Virginia would directly benefit from childcare, pre-Medicare expansion, and long term care, just like Minnesotans.”
Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bullshit. 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. https://t.co/dhzcSk0qUV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 19, 2021
On Sunday, Manchin said he couldn’t explain a “yes” vote on BBB to the people of West Virginia.
Rashida Tlaib, meanwhile, said Manchin had committed a “betrayal of his constituents,” while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for Democrats to bring the bill for a floor vote anyway so Manchin was forced to have his “no” on record.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), another squad member, said she “absolutely” agrees with forcing a vote.
“To be clear, my lack and deficit of trust was about Senator Manchin,” Pressley told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “He has continued to move the goalposts. He has never negotiated in good faith. And he is obstructing the president’s agenda, 85 per cent of which is still left on the table.”
“And in obstructing the president’s agenda, he is obstructing the people’s agenda,” she continued (via the Daily Mail).
“I was listening to his interview earlier today, and he said it’s a mammoth bill/ You’re right. It’s a mammoth bill to address mammoth hurt, to lower the cost of eldercare, child care, prescription drug costs, the child tax credit, which is so critical in combating child poverty.”
"He's continued to move the goal post. He has never negotiated in good faith and he is obstructing the President's agenda." – Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin saying he won't vote for the Build Back Better Act. https://t.co/eMGDIhZLL0 #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/xximGZSIxm
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 19, 2021
On Sunday, the White House accused Manchin of breaking his word.
“Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground,” said White House spox Jen Psaki in a statement reacting to Manchin’s announcement.
“If his comments on Fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position,” she continued, “and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham hit back at the White House, calling their response “laughable.”
“The White House statement attacking Senator Manchin for deciding to vote no regarding Build Back Better is ‘Baghdad Bob’ laughable,” he tweeted.
The CBO analysis is not fake and Build Back Better without budget gimmicks will add $3 trillion to the deficit.
Additionally the Green New Deal provisions in Build Back Better would dramatically increase energy costs, adding to inflation.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2021
The White House’s lame attempts to attack CBO and Senator Manchin to hide the devastating impact of Build Back Better is not working and will not work.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2021
In closing, read this from Glenn Greenwald:
There is no political faction in any country I've covered as a journalist that more worships their political leaders than Dems in the US. They revere them like teens revere pop idols. And they are thus never blamed, can't fail, can only be failed, etc.https://t.co/Hys8DwT6qx
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 20, 2021