Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday he was “ostracized” and “victimized” after killing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
In a local radio interview with “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval,” the senator said the $2 trillion legislation was a “bad bill” for the economy and the country, and therefore strongly opposed it.
“Nobody in their right mind, after I’d been ostracized for how long and victimized, if you will, because I killed the BBB because the BBB was, I think, a bad bill for our economy, it was a bad bill for our country and [would] change the trajectory of who we are as people,” Manchin said. “So I was totally opposed to that and everyone kept saying ‘build back better small,’ there was no such thing as ‘build back better.'”
Manchin described his negotiation with fellow Senate Democrats on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a reconciliation package aimed at lowering prescription drug costs and promoting an all-of-the-above energy policy to tackle inflation. Though legislation has not yet been written, Manchin vowed to support it. (RELATED: Liberals Reignite Their Outrage At Manchin, Sinema As Calls To Abolish Filibuster Percolate)
He told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Thursday that he was “not satisfied” with the provisions in the bill, as they appeared to be inflationary. Manchin, whom Schumer reportedly accused of “walking away” from the proposal, said he wanted to wait for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers from July to be released before committing to back the bill, after which he told his staff to start “scrubbing” anything in the bill that appears inflationary.
“I said ‘Chuck, I’m not walking away from anything, I’m just being very cautious.’ The people in West Virginia can’t afford higher prices, they can’t afford higher gasoline prices, higher food prices, after energy prices, so I told my staff to start scrubbing it,” he said. “I said ‘scrub this bill down. There can’t be one thing that you can say ‘that caused inflation.'”
Manchin opposed the Build Back Better plan in December 2021, criticizing its high price during a time of record-high inflation. Biden, needing Manchin’s vote to get the bill passed, met to negotiate with the senator as the legislation’s deadline to pass neared, though Manchin told reporters in February that Build Back Better “is dead.”
Manchin signaled support for renegotiating provisions within the bill in the future. He has come out in support of climate change measures, universal pre-K and mitigation measures.
The senator’s opposition to Build Back Better sparked outrage among liberal activists. A group of protesters arrived at Manchin’s yacht on kayaks to confront him on the legislation. Activists also confronted and even chased Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in a bathroom at Arizona State University over her opposition to the bill.