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Sen. Joe Manchin says he won't vote for 'Build Back Better' act

Cripples chances Biden-backed bill will pass
Sen. Joe Manchin
Posted at 9:54 AM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 10:11:34-05

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, has pulled his support of a social spending bill proposed by President Joe Biden, indicating during an appearance on Fox News Sunday that he will not support the legislation as currently constructed.

"If I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it," Manchin said of the "Build Back Better Act."

Manchin's announcement could serve as a fatal blow to many aspects of Biden's domestic agenda. Democrats currently only hold power in the evenly-split Senate through a tie-break vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, and no Republican senators have expressed support for the bill.

In addition to instituting climate change initiatives, the Build Back Better Act would reduce the costs of childcare and preschool. It would also aim to lower eldercare and health care costs. The bill would be financed by increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

Manchin is perhaps the most moderate member of the Democratic caucus. His home state of West Virginia easily voted for Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and Manchin is the only Democrat in West Virginia to hold a statewide elected office.

Democrats worked with Manchin for months to make the bill more palatable for his constituents. Those changes included removing a requirement that employers offer paid family leave to new parents and incentives for power utilities to move away from fossil fuels, including one of West Virginia's most abundant natural resources, coal.

But Manchin told Fox News Sunday he was still concerned about the cost of the bill amid the current spike in inflation rates.

"I had my reservations when I heard about (the bill) five-and-a-half months ago. I've been working diligently every day, and every minute of every day I've been working on this — whether it be President Biden or Majority Leader Schumer and his staff, whether it be Nancy Pelosi — all of my colleagues from all different political spectrums from the right to the left," Manchin said. "I've done everything humanly possible."