President Joe Biden attempted to resuscitate his "Build Back Better" plan Tuesday during his State of the Union speech. But Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) quickly poured cold water on Biden's plans.
What did Biden say?
Throughout his speech, Biden never explicitly invoked the words "Build Back Better," but repeatedly referred to "my plan" and listed several key provisions of the Build Back Better Act that failed to pass in the Senate last year.
Biden discussed cutting the costs of prescription drugs, cutting energy costs "by combatting climate change," cutting the cost of child care, and making sure "corporations and the wealthiest Americans start paying their fair share" of taxes. Biden claimed his "plan" will "fight inflation, "lower your costs," and "lower the deficit."
Prior to Biden's speech, Politico reported that Biden would attempt to curry favor with Manchin to revive Build Back Better. The news outlet described Biden's overture as a "last-ditch attempt at getting Manchin back to the negotiating table."
How did Manchin respond?
As if Manchin has not been clear enough — repeating himself countless times for months that he opposes Biden's multitrillion-dollar social spending agenda — the moderate Democrat confirmed after the State of the Union that Build Back Better remains dead.
"They just can’t help themselves," Manchin reportedly said when asked about Biden's remarks.
"I don’t know where that came from," he added. "Nothing’s changed. ... There might be parts they want to talk about. I don’t know. That was a little bit far."
When Manchin was asked about Biden's plans to address inflation, he mocked the president.
"I've never found out that you can lower costs by spending more," Manchin quipped.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who was walking with Manchin at the time, then said, "You can't say it better than that!"
Manchin sat with Republicans during Biden's speech. His spokesman later said Manchin's decision was a gesture of bipartisanship.
"Sen. Manchin sat with his colleague Sen. Romney to remind the American people and the world that bipartisanship works and is alive and well in the U.S. Senate," said spokesman Sam Runyon.