After an entire goddamned year of making Democrats bend the knee to him and cut away at Build Back Better to make him happy, Joe Manchin has announced that he cannot accept the bill in any form, which means it's not happening.
“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” he said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no on this legislation”
This certainly came as a surprise to White House officials who thought that this might be the kind of thing he'd tell them before announcing it to the media, given that last they heard he was still negotiating with President Joe Biden. We guess Manchin probably felt the Fox News contingent would prove the most receptive to his bullshit.
Manchin actually attempted to claim that the reason he couldn't vote for it was in part because voting for something to help people would take away from the attention we should be giving to the Omicron variant ... somehow.
"I have tried everything I know to do," Manchin said, "And the President has worked diligently. He's been wonderful to work with. He knows I've had concerns and the problems I've had and, you know, the thing that we should all be directing our attention towards the variant, a Covid that we have coming back at us in so many different aspects in different ways, it's affecting our lives again."
That is just very believable. "We should be focused on this other important thing instead of the important thing we are currently focused on" is a thing people of good faith say all of the time.
Manchin also said he was very concerned about the national debt. This appears to be a new interest of his given the fact that he has voted to spend over $9 trillion on the military over the last ten years and just recently congratulated himself on having voted to increase the amount of defense spending once again, "securing $9.346 billion for West Virginia priorities."
In a statement, Manchin said that he was particularly concerned about the potential impact of not torching the planet (or his bank account and coal company investments).
If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains. The energy transition my colleagues seek is already well underway in the United States of America. In the last two years, as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and with bipartisan support, we have invested billions of dollars into clean energy technologies so we can continue to lead the world in reducing emissions through innovation. But to do so at a rate that is faster than technology or the markets allow will have catastrophic consequences for the American people like we have seen in both Texas and California in the last two years.
That is not what happened in Texas, for the record.
Several Senate and House Democrats have since responded to Manchin's announcement. Rep. Ayanna Pressley told CNN that she believed Manchin was never negotiating in good faith and was simply out to obstruct Biden's agenda.
"He's continued to move the goal post. He has never negotiated in good faith and he is obstructing the President's agenda." - Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin saying he won't vote for the Build Back Better Act. https://cnn.it/3mdfG3Z\u00a0 #CNNSOTUpic.twitter.com/xximGZSIxm— State of the Union (@State of the Union) 1639927825
Sen. Bernie Sanders said he wants to hold a vote anyway, so that Manchin's constituents can actually see him vote against something that would greatly benefit their lives, like expanding Medicare to include vision and dental.
Most pissed of all, however, is the White House. As mentioned, up until this morning, Biden and White House officials thought they were still negotiating in good faith with Manchin, and were blindsided by the FOX News appearance and the statement saying he was officially finished and would not vote for it no matter what.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki put out an official statement calling him out on his bullshit:
On Tuesday of this week, Senator Manchin came to the White House and submitted — to the President, in person, directly — a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities. While that framework was missing key priorities, we believed it could lead to a compromise acceptable to all. Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. 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.
Senator Manchin claims that this change of position is related to inflation, but the think tank he often cites on Build Back Better — the Penn Wharton Budget Institute — issued a report less than 48 hours ago that noted the Build Back Better Act will have virtually no impact on inflation in the short term, and, in the long run, the policies it includes will ease inflationary pressures. Many leading economists with whom Senator Manchin frequently consults also support Build Back Better.
Psaki also noted some things he's going to have to explain to his constituents:
In the meantime, Senator Manchin will have to explain to those families paying $1,000 a month for insulin why they need to keep paying that, instead of $35 for that vital medicine. He will have to explain to the nearly two million women who would get the affordable day care they need to return to work why he opposes a plan to get them the help they need. Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone — we cannot.
This was one of Manchin's excuses, by the way — that he simply would not be able to go back to West Virginia and tell them that he voted for this. He just couldn't bear to break their little hearts and tell them: "You're not going to have to pay $1,000 a month for insulin anymore and also you can afford child care now."
MANCHIN: I have always said, 'If I can't go back home and explain it, I can't vote for it.' Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation."
Presumably he is speaking very specifically about explaining it to his daughter, former Mylan Pharmaceutical CEO Heather Bresch, who made an absolutely obscene amount of money by quintupling the price of Epi-Pens.
Joe Manchin desperately wants people to think that he is the one being the voice of reason here. He's not. He makes no sense at all and he's a selfish, greedy prick who simply likes money and likes the idea of being even more powerful than the president. That is the beginning and the end of it.
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