President Biden’s attempt to resuscitate the fundamental aspects of his Build Back Better plan has been met with scepticism, with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) disputing the president’s assertion that approving a $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion spending package will “reduce prices” for most Americans.
When asked by reporters following Biden’s State of the Union address if he was shocked by the president’s attempt to use the occasion to resurrect his failed climate and social spending proposal, Manchin joked, “They simply can’t help themselves.”
Manchin Sits With Republicans During State of the Union Address
He laughed, “I don’t know where that came from.” He stated, “Nothing has changed.”
“It’s possible they’ll want to discuss some aspects. I’m not sure. He went on to say, “That was a little too overboard,” alluding to Biden’s attempt to resurrect a list of costly Build Back Better items on Thursday evening.
Manchin also questioned Biden’s assertion that his Build Back Better plan will reduce expenses and fight inflation. “I’ve never found out that spending more lowers costs,” he remarked.
“You can’t put it better than that,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who was marching beside Manchin across the Capitol Rotunda and sat with Manchin during the address.
Manchin’s remarks instantly cast doubt on Biden’s ability to resurrect his spending proposal, which had stalled in December after months of discussions.
Biden attempted to persuade Manchin, the Democratic caucus’ lone holdout, that his strategy will assist to mitigate the impact of rising prices by cutting the costs of middle-class households.
“Depressing wages and making Americans poorer is one strategy to combat inflation. To combat inflation, I have a better strategy. He said, “Lower your costs, not your pay.”
“My idea, according to seventeen Nobel laureates in economics, will reduce long-term inflationary pressures.” “I have the endorsement of top business leaders and the majority of Americans,” he asserted.
The president then went over several key elements of the Build Back Better package he negotiated with Manchin last year, including a proposal to give Medicare the authority to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, a plan to double solar and wind energy production, and a proposal to reduce the cost of electric vehicles.
Biden also touted his idea to reduce child care costs, subsidise long-term home health care for the elderly and disabled, and provide universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds.
Manchin, on the other hand, looks more interested in engaging with Republicans on bipartisan legislation than in resurrecting the Build Back Better Act, which Democrats want to pass on a party-line vote under special budget reconciliation procedures.
He stated that the US must not only be energy self-sufficient, but also assist in compensating for the probable loss of Russian energy supplies to Europe and other nations affected by the new sanctions.
“We must collaborate with our partners to backfill when places throughout the world require assistance,” he added.
He reaffirmed his demand that the US cease importing 600,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products from Russia every day.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Biden remarked when asked about Biden bringing up some of the main parts of the reconciliation deal that Manchin scuttled in December. Every time they speak, they bring it up.”
But, as he has previously stated, Manchin is more interested in dealing with the tax system and undoing some of the enormous tax cuts for the rich that former President Trump and Republicans approved in 2017.
“What we need to do is change the tax law,” says the author. He stated, “I’ve said that.” “All you have to do is change the tax code.” That’s the one thing I believe everyone can agree on.”
However, Manchin stated that “no formal negotiations” have taken place with the White House regarding restarting the major components of Build Back Better.
When asked if he could see “any portions of it” passing, Manchin said, “Not until you get your financial house in line.”
Because of “the things I’ve always said,” he said he is still hesitant to move through with the majority of Biden’s social expenditure programme.
“Before we start down this road, you should be concerned about inflation because it is not temporary.” “They were claiming it was transitory back then,” he added, alluding to the administration’s claims last year that inflation would be short-lived.
“We saw all the signals that it wouldn’t be transitory, and it isn’t,” he continued, explaining that his objections to Build Back Better in December were justified.
“We knew COVID could make a comeback, and it did with omicron.” We were concerned about geopolitical turmoil at the time, and now we’re experiencing it in its worst form,” he added.
“We know we’re going to have to put money into additional COVID assistance now,” he added, “and I think they’re going to ask for quite a few billions of dollars.” “We know the military will require a significant increase in funding.
“It just keeps stacking up,” he explained. “It’s all about inflation to me.” “Inflation is the number one threat we face now in America,” he continued.