A Change of Heart: Manchin Won't Back His Counteroffer to Biden's BBB Even if WH Does - Report
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) walks between meetings at the Capitol in the midst of ongoing negotiations over the Build Back Better bill, which aims to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change, in Washington, U.S. December 14, 2021.
In mid-December, the Democrat senator, who has been accused of stalling the passing of the much-touted bill through Congress, went full rogue, saying that he would not vote for it, proposing compromise legislation instead.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has pulled his proposal for a $1.8 trillion compromise on President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill off the table. In doing so, Manchin has likely put the Democratic Party's main social-spending platform to rest for good, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
According to the report, citing three anonymous sources, following a breakdown in negotiations between Manchin and the White House right before Christmas, the senator has reportedly made it clear that he does not support moving forward with even his compromise offer.
Manchin had offered the White House a $1.8 trillion counteroffer to the Build Back Better agenda a week before Christmas, which included significant funding for climate, healthcare, and education initiatives. The development comes after the senator said earlier this week that he was no longer talking to the White House about Biden's long-desired plan.
"I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better anymore because I think I’ve been very clear on that," Manchin told the press on Tuesday. "There is no negotiations going on at this time, OK?"
According to The WaPo, Manchin stated in private that he was not interested in voting for legislation similar to Biden's Build Back Better package, and that Democrats should rethink their strategy.
Following the backlash in mid-December, senior Democrats reportedly said that they do not believe Manchin would vote for his offer even if the White House sought to embrace it in its entirety.
The White House apparently was sure it would eventually obtain Manchin's vote and congressional approval of its ambitious economic plan. And Manchin's counteroffer of $1.8 trillion reportedly underscored that there was still a lot of common ground between the two sides on policy content.
However, Democratic leaders in Congress have quickly shifted their focus from completing the economic package to voting rights legislation, leaving the White House's potential to reshape large swaths of the economy in doubt.
Manchin's proposal included permanent funding for universal prekindergarten, an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, and hundreds of billions in climate-related investment, all of which are strongly opposed by Republicans in Congress. His plan also included support for a tax on billionaires.
According to previous reports, negotiations between Manchin and the administration abruptly deteriorated in December when a White House press release identified Manchin as the bill's main stumbling block. After Manchin surprised the administration by criticizing the bill on Fox News, the White House issued a stinging statement casting doubt on his trustworthiness.
Manchin, who has sparked outrage among demonstrators for his opposition to the bill, later claimed that naming him in the news release jeopardized his family's safety.