West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin described President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better spending package as “dead” on Tuesday, indicating that talks on the administration’s biggest spending plan yet had irreversibly ground to a halt.
A CNN journalist questioned Manchin as to the state of negotiations on Tuesday.
“What Build Back Better bill? There is no, I mean, I don’t know what you guys are talking about,” answered Manchin.
“No, no, no, no. It’s dead,” the senator said in response to repeated inquiry from CNN’s Manu Raju.
Manchin’s assertion of a death sentence for the Build Back Better package bodes poorly for its prospects of eventually passing the Senate.
Democrats had engaged in a mammoth influence program in order to secure Manchin’s vote for the gargantuan spending package, only for the pivotal swing senator to decisively declare before Christmas he’d be a “no” vote on the plan.
After declaring his opposition to the plan, Manchin had suggested the only way he’d consider reversing his stance would involve the Democratic Party retooling the legislation from the ground up.
Manchin has questioned the merits of the reconciliation package, with a price tag that’s gravitated between $3.5 trillion and $2.2 trillion throughout the course of negotiations. The law funnels the trillions of dollars to a variety of climate-change oriented and social spending priorities.
Manchin had indicated he’d support a reconciliation package with a price tag between $1 and $1.5 trillion last year.
The reconciliation rule in the Senate enables yearly budget legislation to pass with a majority of 50 votes, skipping the traditional 60-vote filibuster.
Among several policy critiques of the package, Manchin has pointed to the law’s potential impacts on inflation, with Americans already seeing their purchasing power decline since Biden’s inauguration as president.
Manchin has also criticized Build Back Better’s massive price tag in the context of a growing national debt, with the passage of multiple coronavirus stimulus packages taking a fiscal toll.
Representing West Virginia in the Senate, it’s all but impossible for Democrats to expect Manchin to be any more progressive, but that hasn’t stopped partisans from viciously attacking him.
Party elites such as Hillary Clinton have attacked his character and threatened to organize a primary challenge against him, but Manchin has thus far refused to bend to liberal pressure.
With a razor-thin majority of 50 votes (and the vice president as tie-breaker) in the Senate, it’s all but impossible for Democrats to pass partisan legislation without the unanimous support of their caucus.
With the BBB package hopelessly stalled and the 2022 midterms increasingly looming on the political horizon, it’s possible that the Democrats could lose the Senate without passing any of Biden’s major legislative proposals.
Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Manchin refused to abrogate the Senate’s filibuster rule to pass an effort to federalize state elections, placing the next policy priority of Biden in political oblivion and threatening to consign the president to legislative irrelevance.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.