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White House slams Manchin's 'inexplicable reversal' on Build Back Better

Psaki said Manchin's "no" vote is "a breach of his commitments" and "at odds with his discussions this week with the President."

Published: December 19, 2021 4:01pm

Updated: December 19, 2021 4:10pm

White House press secretary Jen Psaki rebuked Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., on Sunday after he said he would not vote for President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act.

Psaki said Manchin's "no" vote is "a breach of his commitments" and "at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances."

President Biden and his team were in ongoing discussions with Sen. Manchin to earn his vital Democratic vote in the 50-50 Senate. On Fox News Sunday, the West Virginia senator said he would not vote for the "mammoth piece of legislation" because he is concerned over the bill's climate provisions and that it will increase inflation and the federal deficit.

Psaki began by attacking Manchin's comments on inflation. "The Build Back Better Act will have virtually no impact on inflation in the short term, and, in the long run, the policies it includes will ease inflationary pressures," she wrote.

Manchin cited the federal deficit as another reason for not supporting the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office predicted would add $3 trillion to the deficit over 10 years.

The press secretary said the plan is "fully paid for, is the most fiscally responsible major bill that Congress has considered in years, and reduces the deficit in the long run." She said Manchin was looking at an "underfunded extension" of the plan, not the one the Senate would vote on.

She also criticized Manchin's statements on climate provisions in the bill, insisting that the bill would create "clean energy" jobs.

Manchin on Sunday explained, "I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation."

Psaki gave specific examples of what she thinks Manchin "will have to explain," such as why families are paying more for medicine, why there isn't "affordable day care," and why he does not support the Child Tax Credit. 

Concluding, Psaki gave examples of what the White House is "proud" of in 2021 but said the fight for Build Back Better is "too important to give up."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also attacked Manchin on Sunday, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, "If he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world."

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