One month to the day that Democrats in the House of Representatives passed "the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades," U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Sunday morning declared on Fox News he will now not support the Democrats' Build Back Better bill that would have provided child care support for parents, protected the environment with climate change actions, expanded Medicare, lowered the cost of prescription drugs – like capping insulin at $35 – provided for universal pre-K, and created affordable housing, among many other programs Democrats, including President Joe Biden, ran on.
"I've always said this, Bret," Manchin said less than a week before Christmas to Fox news host Bret Baier, "if I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, then I can't vote for it. I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there."
"This is a no," he told Fox News viewers.
Manchin has spent months wheeling and dealing, reconstructing the Build Back Better legislation while slashing the cost – and the benefits – and even managing to get the House Progressive Caucus to agree to vote for President Biden's infrastructure package. The two bills from the start were supposed to be linked so those who opposed one would find a way to vote for both. Manchin effectively managed to sever that deal.
Outrage on the left was swift and massive.
"BREAKING," tweeted former New York state prosecutor Tristan Snell. "Man with Maserati and yacht against child tax credit, maternity leave, child care, and $35 insulin."
Sawyer Hackett, the former deputy national press secretary to Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, now the co-host of Our America podcast called Manchin's move "one of the most stunning betrayals of a sitting president by a member of his own party in history."
"Manchin just shoved a knife in the back of a flailing Biden presidency less than a year away from the midterms."
Democrats put Manchin in charge of negotiating infrastructure.\n\nWe cut the proposed $6T BBB bill to $3.5T (he said he\u2019d support $4T).\n\nWe cut out taxes on rich, paid leave, tuition free college, prescription drugs.\n\nWe caved to him at every turn\u2014and he still tanked the bill.— Sawyer Hackett (@Sawyer Hackett) 1639926098
Voting rights expert and Mother Jones writer Ari Berman:
Joe Manchin represents .5% of US population but is killing Build Back Better supported by 70% of Americans— Ari Berman (@Ari Berman) 1639927463
Hugo Lowell of The Guardian noted that "Senate Dem Joe Manchin accepted more than $1.5m from Republican and corporate interests opposed to Build Back Better as of September, Guardian US reported this month."
Progressives were absolutely right to insist on the linkage of the infrastructure bill and BBB. They got played.— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1639925961
"It's notable he made this announcement on Fox during a congressional recess, not at a party lunch or at a news conference on Capitol Hill," said Punchbowl News' Max Cohen.
"This is devastating on climate change. the US almost certainly won’t get another chance like this this decade," wrote Vox senior reporter Rebecca Leber. "Whatever you do don’t call this the moderate approach."
More people will die in the next 10-30 years because Manchin killed Build Back Better. The original BBB proposal had ambitious policies to end coal pollution.\n\nThis is not hyperbole. \n\nSee: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/news/80x30ces/\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/lX05TUEquA— Rebecca Leber (@Rebecca Leber) 1639925742
"Don’t forget: this isn’t just about Joe Manchin," MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan tweeted. "It’s about the dark money and billionaires and coal interests behind him, which keep winning at ours and the planet’s expense. Manchin is a living breathing reminder that America is often more oligarchic than it is democratic."
Political satirist Jeremy Newberger:
Senator Joe Manchin might as well have made his BBB beheading tape from the Mar-A-Lago omelette station.— Mr. Newberger (@Mr. Newberger) 1639924368
"Joe Manchin is a lying liar who lies," wrote Jennifer Taub, law professor and author of Big Dirty Money.
He "just can't" because of all the cash @Sen_JoeManchin rakes in from oil and gas donors.https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-16/manchin-rakes-in-cash-from-energy-industry-some-gop-donors\u00a0\u2026— Josie Glausiusz \u05d2'\u05d5\u05e1\u05d9 \u05d2\u05dc\u05d0\u05d6\u05d9\u05d5\u05e1 \u062c\u0648\u0633\u064a \u063a\u0644\u0627\u0648\u0633\u064a\u0648\u0632 (@Josie Glausiusz \u05d2'\u05d5\u05e1\u05d9 \u05d2\u05dc\u05d0\u05d6\u05d9\u05d5\u05e1 \u062c\u0648\u0633\u064a \u063a\u0644\u0627\u0648\u0633\u064a\u0648\u0632) 1639927818
Former Bernie Sanders Deputy Campaign Manager:
Joe Manchin didn\u2019t kill the bill . . . He killed the planet.https://twitter.com/ella_nilsen/status/1472590288673726474\u00a0\u2026— Ari Rabin-Havt (@Ari Rabin-Havt) 1639928568
Mississippi Free Press senior reporter Ashton Pittman:
Joe Manchin's decision he announced on Fox News today means childhood poverty will effectively double again once the expanded child tax credit expires.https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1472580441886666753\u00a0\u2026— Ashton Pittman (@Ashton Pittman) 1639930585