Biden Responds To Manchin Rejecting Build Back Better

Screenshot via YouTube/The White House

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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President Joe Biden refused to directly answer a question about his Build Back Better talks with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin during his Tuesday press conference.

“Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done,” Biden said when asked whether or not Manchin broke a commitment that he made to Biden during negotiations. The president then walked away from the podium, signaling an end to his press conference.

Following Manchin’s Sunday announcement that he would not support the social spending package as currently written, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the senator had presented his own proposal for the bill and had agreed to continue discussions with Biden.

“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they 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,” Psaki added.

Manchin blasted White House aides during a Monday appearance on West Virginia Metro News, claiming that they “put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable.”

Although Manchin has expressed support for some of the programs in Build Back Better, he has criticized the structure of the social spending bill. Build Back Better includes sunset clauses for its major provisions, most notably a child tax credit. Manchin has described those clauses as “shell games” and “gimmicks,” since many Democrats want to make various provisions in the legislation permanent. If provisions like the child tax credit and electric vehicle subsidies are made permanent, they would increase the debt impact of the package from $200 billion to $3 trillion. (RELATED: CBO Releases New Build Back Better Analysis, Adds Trillions To Estimate)

In the wake of Manchin’s rejection of the bill, some Republicans have begun recruiting him to leave the Democratic Party. New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched parties in 2019, claimed Tuesday on Fox News that Manchin “would be happier in the Republican Party.”

“He doesn’t fit well over there, but that is a decision ultimately that he has to make. We certainly welcome him to join us if he was so inclined,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday.