After Manchin Voices Opposition, Schumer Announces Vote On Build Back Better

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that the Senate will vote on the Build Back Better Act following demands from left-wing members of Congress.

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced Sunday on Fox News that he would not support the social spending package.

“Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every Member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television,” Schumer wrote in a Dear Colleague letter.

“We will keep voting on it until we get something done,” Schumer added.

Manchin cited inflation, supply chain disruptions and the national debt as key factors in his decision. As currently written, Build Back Better would add $160 billion to the national debt over a ten-year period, and could add as much as $3 trillion if its various programs are made permanent, Congressional Budget Office estimates have found. Manchin blasted the bill’s various sunset provisions for programs that some Democrats have called to be made permanent as “budget gimmicks” and “shell games.” (RELATED: Psaki Accuses Manchin Of Backtracking On Commitments Made To Biden Regarding Build Back Better Act)

After Manchin revealed that he would not support Build Back Better, left-wing members of Congress called on him to vote against the bill on the Senate floor.

“The Senate must return to session immediately and bring this historic and transformational bill to a vote so Senator Manchin—and every Republican who has opposed it from the very beginning—can demonstrate, on the record, the contempt they have for their constituents and for everyone who calls America home,” Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley said in a statement.

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concurred.

The Senate must reconvene immediately and bring BBB to a vote regardless of Manchin’s statement. If they forced folks to go on record with BIF [Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework], they can force the Senate to go on record with BBB,” she tweeted.

“If Sen. Joe Manchin wants to vote against the Build Back Better Act, he should have the opportunity to do so with a floor vote as soon as the Senate returns,” Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders added.

Manchin and Schumer agreed in a July note that Manchin would “not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation” if it exceeded a series of conditions that Manchin laid out, most notably that the bill had to be revenue neutral. He also demanded spending caps for programs included in the package and means testing for welfare programs.

Manchin blamed White House staff for the impasse during a Monday interview on West Virginia Metro News, claiming that aides “put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable.”

“They figured surely to God we can move one person,” Manchin said of left-wing supporters of Build Back Better. “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.'”

Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also hasn’t agreed to support the social spending package.