The moment the White House accused Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) of betraying “his commitments to the president” may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Manchin has tried to negotiate with his fellow Democrats over the Build Back Better (BBB) bill for months. Manchin’s opposition to BBB’s most controversial provisions never wavered despite the attacks against him.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” Manchin revealed that he wasn’t able to reach an agreement with President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer. He also reiterated his concerns about BBB’s impact on inflation, the debt, and the ongoing supply chain crisis.
Manchin’s statements caught the White House off guard, which responded with a fiery statement:
The weekend bombshell has led to widespread speculation that Manchin will leave the Democratic Party.
Axios reports on his possible next moves:
If Sen. Joe Manchin bolts the Democratic Party, he’d be more likely to switch to independent — and caucus with the Democrats — than become a Republican, people close to him tell Axios.
A defection by Manchin would make even passing a watered-down version of BBB more difficult.
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But it would also bring clarity to Biden’s political predicament: With 50 votes, his party formally controls the Senate. In reality, any single Democrat can take the party hostage on any given issue.
The big picture: Progressives were worried all year that they would whittle down their spending ambitions to bring Manchin aboard, only to have him pull the rug out once the negotiations got real.
They knew that their only leverage was holding up the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, and they were right. As soon President Biden signed the infrastructure bill into law, they lost all leverage and Manchin was in the driver’s seat — though it’s not clear they could have brought Manchin along even if they’d held out longer.
Do you believe that Build Back Better is truly dead? Or will Democrats figure out a way to pass (most of) it in 2022? Tell us in the comments below!