Dec 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Progressives lash out at Manchin for tanking spending plan

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) drew the ire of Senate and House progressives on Sunday after he announced he will not support President Biden's Build Back Better legislation, essentially sinking the $1.75 trillion spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats, including those who had pre-planned appearances on the Sunday news shows, expressed frustration and feelings of betrayal.

  • While saying he intends to "continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle," Manchin also indicated in his statement that his own party's agenda posed a threat to the nation.
  • "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," the West Virginia senator said.

What they're saying:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did not mince words in his response on CNN's "State of the Union" shortly after Manchin's announcement, suggesting Democrats put the bill to a floor vote anyways to have Manchin's opposition on the record.

  • "I hope that we will bring a strong bill to the floor of the Senate as soon as we can and let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn't have the guts to stand up to the powerful special interests," Sanders said.
  • “We've been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month. But if he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote in a statement: "Today, Senator Manchin has betrayed his commitment not only to the President and Democrats in Congress but most importantly, to the American people. He routinely touts that he is a man of his word, but he can no longer say that. West Virginians, and the country, see clearly who he is."

  • "We will never stop fighting to truly build back better for the American people. Too much is at stake.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on MSNBC said, “We all knew that Sen. Manchin couldn’t be trusted."

  • "The excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bullshit. It is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of West Virginia because that’s a complete lie," Omar added.
  • "The people of West Virginia would greatly benefit from their families having access to long-term elderly care and care for folks with disabilities. They would benefit from the expansion of the child tax credits.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) told CNN she has a "lack and deficit of trust" when it comes to Manchin.

  • "He has continued to move the goal post. He has never negotiated in good faith and he is obstructing the president’s agenda.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) told MSNBC: "We have been saying this, for weeks, that this would happen ... having [Build Back Better and infrastructure bills] coupled together was the only leverage we had. And what did the caucus do? We tossed it.”

Worth noting: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a moderate who is among the most vulnerable House Democrats, said in a statement that "after months of negotiations, one Democratic U.S. Senator has now summarily walked away from productive negotiations. That is unacceptable, and we cannot act like this moment is the end.”

Between the lines, via Axios' Alayna Treene: Progressives are furious. This is why they insisted for months that Democrats not pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill before Congress passed Build Back Better.

  • Leaders assured them they'd get it done and ultimately acquiesced. But now they feel duped.

Go deeper: White House: Manchin position "breach of his commitments" to Biden, Dems

Go deeper