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Manchin does not hold back when criticizing Biden for 'absolutely infuriating' veto: 'Radical social and environmental agenda'

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pulled no punches on Monday after President Joe Biden vetoed legislation that had some support from Democrats.

What did Biden do?

On Monday, Biden issued the first veto of his presidency, overturning a bill that sought to prohibit pension fund managers at the Labor Department from making environmental, social, and governance investments.

The Senate approved the bill on March 1 by a vote of 50–46; two Democratic senators — Manchin and Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) — supported it. The House approved it one day earlier. One House Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), voted for it.

After vetoing the bill, Biden claimed that "MAGA Republicans" want to risk retirement pensions. But the entire point of rolling back the Labor Department rule was to force fiduciaries to invest retirement funds in a way that prioritizes financial returns, not non-pecuniary benefits.

What did Manchin say?

The moderate Democrat condemned Biden for taking "absolutely infuriating" action.

"This Administration continues to prioritize their radical policy agenda over the economic, energy and national security needs of our country, and it is absolutely infuriating," Manchin said in a statement.

"West Virginians are under increasing stress as we continue to recover from a once in a generation pandemic, pay the bills amid record inflation, and face the largest land war in Europe since World War II," the statement added. "The Administration’s unrelenting campaign to advance a radical social and environmental agenda is only exacerbating these challenges."

By allowing the Labor Department to continue making ESG decisions, Manchin said Biden is weakening "our energy, national and economic security."

"Despite a clear and bipartisan rejection of the rule from Congress, President Biden is choosing to put his Administration’s progressive agenda above the well-being of the American people," Manchin said.

Neither Tester nor Golden have commented on Biden's veto, and it's not clear how those Democrats are "MAGA Republicans" as Biden said of the bill's supporters.

The House could hold a vote to overturn the veto as early as this week. The effort is doomed to fail, because Republicans do not have enough support from Democrats to reach the two-thirds threshold required to overturn a presidential veto.

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