West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has been no fan or supporter of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. In fact, though he has gone along with some of Brandon’s other hair-brained schemes, such as putting Justice Katanji Jackson on the Supreme Court, Manchin has been a resolute opponent of the Build Back Better agenda.
Recently, he explained why during a West Virginia radio interview, describing the Build Back Better agenda as being something that would significantly change the country and saying that it would wreak havoc in the lives of ordinary Americans, saying:
“First of all, the Build Back Better, way back when, was a complete social realignment, everything [inaudible] you could throw at it, and I was very clear when the President and I talked, I said, ‘Mr. President, this piece of legislation is going to change our country from when John Kennedy said ‘ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do for your country,’ that piece of legislation will change us to how much more can my country do for me.’
“And we are $30.5 trillion of debt and climbing, and we have to be serious about this, but inflation is wreaking havoc on everybody’s lives. I don’t care what [inaudible] you’re on. So that’s why that one — there’s no such thing as Build Back Better again.”
That statement is good news for Republicans, who are also opposed to the Build Back Better agenda but are, at least until they reclaim power in the midterms, relying on Senator Manchin to help them stop it from being passed.
During the interview, Manchin argued that his resistance to it and other big spending proposals was based, at least in part, on the inflation crisis, saying that he had asked Schumer to wait until inflation data came out to push the agenda, but that Schumer was unwilling to do so. In Manchin’s words:
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“’Chuck, can we just wait until the inflation figures come out in July and then make a decision? Until basically the Fed rate — the Reserve, are they going to raise interest [rates]? How much more, and how much damage is that going to be? And then make a decision [about] what we can do and how much we can do?’ He took that as a ‘no,’ I guess.”
Biden, for his part, has pushed back strongly against Manchin and the GOP as they resist the bill, even going so far as to say that he would start using his executive power to push climate change-related agenda items through, saying:
“Action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever, so let me be clear: if the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment.”
“My actions will create jobs, improve our energy security, bolster domestic manufacturing and supply chains, protect us from oil and gas price hikes in the future, and address climate change. I will not back down: the opportunity to create jobs and build a clean energy future is too important to relent.”
Whether Biden has the power to do that is doubtful, but he seems intent on trying as Manchin’s opposition to BBB hardens in the face of worse and worse inflation data.