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West Virginia business leaders support Manchin's opposition to Biden's Build Back Better

"We are aware that media outlets have sent people here and will only interview people who they believe are friendly to their point of view," the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce president said.

Published: December 26, 2021 8:03pm

Updated: December 26, 2021 9:01pm

Business leaders in West Virginia are showing their support for Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.V.) decision to vote against President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act by speaking out against attacks on their state.

Last week, actress Bette Midler called West Virginians "poor, illiterate and strung out." Other celebrities joined in, piling on more insults.

Media outlets published commentary against Manchin's "no" vote, painting it as a betrayal of constituents.

For example, a New Yorker article last week wrote that critics say Manchin has become an "icon of Washington oligarchy and estrangement" with "a sneering disregard" for constituents struggling to escape poverty. 

A CNBC article quoted a single West Virginian who was unhappy with Manchin's decision. "I'm just so upset," JoAnna Vance, a paid leave and Build Back Better advocate, told the outlet, adding, "If he doesn’t support it and we don’t get it, it’s going to hurt so many West Virginians — not just West Virginians, people across the nation in general." 

West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts told Fox News Digital that he "fully supports" Sen. Manchin's opposition to Build Back Better. Roberts called the media's criticism "ludicrous."

Since Manchin's announcement that he would not support Build Back Better, Roberts said he has received dozens of phone calls and emails from West Virginian business owners who support the "no" vote. A few even told Roberts that Manchin "should run for president."

Roberts said he found through "extensive polling" that the majority of West Virginians side with Manchin. However, the chamber received a couple of angry emails from people who lived outside of West Virginia but were upset over Manchin's decision.

"One guy called us all ‘knuckle-dragging hillbillies’ and said he’d never drive through our state again," Roberts said.

"We are aware that media outlets have sent people here and will only interview people who they believe are friendly to their point of view," he stated.

West Virginia Manufacturer's Association President Rebecca McPhail told Fox News Digital, "Senator Manchin is doing the right thing for West Virginia and the United States."

"From supply chain and workforce shortages, to the rising cost of goods and services, West Virginia businesses are struggling. These are the very businesses that rushed to action in response to COVID," McPhail said. "Adding on additional taxes to small business to pay for the myriad of programs in the plan would crush their ability to recover and compete in a global economy."

"These massive bills seem to be designed to confuse the American people – a few issues become the rallying cry in the hopes that everyone will ignore the hidden elements that propel a certain agenda," she added.

Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.V.) told Fox News Digital, "Joe Manchin heard us loud and clear because it was West Virginians speaking, not liberal activists in New York City and California."

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