build back never
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Sunday that he will not vote for President Biden's landmark $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, Fox News reports.
The Senate is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans and no Republicans support the bill, which means Biden cannot afford any defections. Without Manchin's vote, Build Back Better is unlikely to pass.
"This is a 'no,' on this piece of legislation," Manchin said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday when host Bret Baier asked him point-blank. (Baier is filling in after Chris Wallace's departure from Fox News last weekend, The Wrap reports.)
"I have tried everything I know to do," Manchin added. He cited concerns about inflation, the national debt, and the "mammoth" cost of the bill as reasons for his decision and said Biden has been "wonderful to work with."
Manchin met with Biden last week to discuss what it would take for him to vote for the tax and spending bill, which would expand the social safety net and take steps to tackle climate change, but negotiations went "very poorly," Politico reported.
Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane of The New York Times wrote that the "centerpiece of Mr. Biden's domestic agenda" had suffered a "perhaps fatal blow" but suggested that Build Back Better might still pass early next year, albeit in a significantly pared-down form acceptable to Manchin.
Either way, it marks a massive political defeat for Biden, whose low approval ratings already portend serious losses for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.