Sen. Joe Manchin released a sharp response Friday after President Joe Biden repeatedly singled out the West Virginia Democrat as the person to blame for his unsuccessful legislative agenda.
What is the background?
Biden released a statement Thursday night — an update on his "Built Back Better" bill — and cited Manchin by name three times.
In that statement, Biden claimed that Manchin "has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September," despite Manchin's continued opposition to supporting many aspects of the plan.
I had a productive call with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer earlier today. I briefed them on the most recent discussions that my staff and I have held with Senator Manchin about Build Back Better. In these discussions, Senator Manchin has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September. I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.
My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week.
How did Manchin respond?
The moderate Democrat provided a short but revealing response Friday to Politico, which cast doubt on the sincerity of Biden's claims about him.
"The president put out a statement. It’s his statement — not mine," Manchin said.
Manchin is facing growing criticism from the media for not supporting Biden's "Build Back Better" plan. The Associated Press claimed this week that Manchin is "singularly halting Biden’s agenda." Meanwhile, tensions boiled over between Manchin and reporters on Wednesday after they peppered Manchin with questions about his refusal to support Biden's legislative agenda.
As reporters followed Manchin on Capitol Hill, the lawmaker told them, "I’m not negotiating with any of you, OK?"
"You guys, let me go. This is bulls***. You are bulls***! OK? I’m done! I’m done! God Almighty," Manchin added.
As Democrats and the media continue to target Manchin — a plan that has thus far failed — Biden signaled Friday that his immediate legislative agenda is shifting from social spending to voter reform.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Friday Biden is punting the social spending bill to 2022. Indeed, the Senate officially adjourned Saturday, and will not reconvene until next year.