Democratic Senator Joe Manchin raised multiple concerns about the Build Back Better bill. Photograph:( AFP )
Manchin praised Biden but said that right now, the government should be directing the attention towards the Omicron variant of COVID-19
The White House has issued a statement after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that he could not support the legislation's passage of the massive social spending bill.
It is a big blow to United States President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plans as Manchin's vote is deemed crucial to getting the bill through the Senate. It is understood that Democrats have spent weeks trying to secure his support.
Manchin told Fox News Sunday: "I can't vote for it and I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible, I can't get there... This is a no."
The bill is focused on funnelling funds toward lowering the cost of child care and prescription drugs, supporting the purchasing power of households and investing in the transition to clean energy.
After the interview, Manchin's office released a statement in which the Senator reiterated that he couldn't support the legislation. The statement read: "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," it added.
The Senator has raised multiple concerns about the bill regarding paid family leave, a methane fee on emissions, medicare expansion, taxes, climate provisions, etc.
Manchin praised Biden but said that right now, the government should be directing the attention towards the Omicron variant and the threat is coming back in "so many different aspects in different ways". He also said that the present Covid situation is "affecting our lives again."
White House reacts
Responding to the same, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Manchin's statements are "at odds with his discussions this week with the President".
The lengthy statement further read: "Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced."
"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's statement added. Manchin has been facing criticism from some party members.
Senator Bernie Sanders said that the Democrats would take the bill to a vote. "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 powerful special interests," he told CNN.
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