Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley expressed her frustration with the stalemate of President Joe Biden’s progressive Build Back Better agenda on ‘State of the Union with Jake Tapper’ on Sunday.
Laying the blame firmly on Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s shoulders, Pressley stated, “We cannot allow one lone senator from West Virginia to obstruct the president’s agenda, to obstruct the people’s agenda. Jake, all I want for Christmas is a senator that has compassion for the American people and not contempt.”
Accusing Manchin of “torpedoing [the Democrats’] opportunity to advance unprecedented advancements,” Pressley stated that if Manchin was serious about addressing issues like inflation and poverty, he would support the Build Back Better bill “so we can, in fact, build back better.”
Manchin told Fox News’ Brett Baier on Sunday that after months of negotiations, he could not vote to continue with that legislation, citing concerns about the national debt and whether the bill would effectively deal with the issues it was trying to resolve.
“There’s a lot of good,” he conceded, “but that bill is a mammoth piece of legislation,” pointing out that it is not even being voted on like a normal bill, but being pushed through budget reconciliation.
In a press statement released shortly afterward, Manchin skewered his fellow Democrats. “My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”
He further added that the American people deserve transparency, saying that Congressional Budget Office had determined the true cost of the bill would be $4.5 trillion, or double what the bill’s supporters claim. “They continue to camouflage the real cost of the intent behind this bill,” he concluded. (RELATED: CBO Releases New Build Back Better Analysis, Adds Trillions To Estimate)
When asked if it might be better to break up the bill into smaller pieces, focusing on high priority items, Pressley rejected the idea. Instead, she stated she was going to remain focused on keeping the pressure on Manchin, suggesting that the White House needed to do the same.
Pressley said that she supports “the White House using the full weight of this presidency to lean on this senator, to show solidarity with this Democratic Party and with the American people and to stop obstructing the president’s agenda, which is the people’s agenda. This is a mammoth bill to address a mammoth hurt. Let’s get it done.” Pressley concluded.
Manchin said that instead of trying to pass such a large spending bill, Congress should be more focused on tackling the omicron variant of COVID-19. He also said the government should be addressing inflation that has “harmed a lot of Americans,” as reported by Fox News.