Joe Manchin says Biden's Build Back Better package is 'dead' but cracks the door open to future talks
Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday that President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill is "dead."
"There is no Build Back Better bill, I don't know what you're all talking about," he told Insider.
Senate Democrats are seeking to advance a slimmed-down version of the legislation at some point.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Tuesday shut down the notion that negotiations for President Joe Biden's sweeping economic bill, otherwise known as Build Back Better, were still underway after he came out in opposition to the $2 trillion plan in December.
"What Build Back Better bill?" Manchin told Insider when asked about a tax break being included in a follow-up bill. "There is no Build Back Better bill, I don't know what you're all talking about."
"It's dead," he added to reporters.
Build Back Better is the centerpiece of Biden's economic agenda, intended to dramatically strengthen the country's social safety net. The House passed its version of the bill in November, but that package is withering away in the evenly-divided Senate.
The bill has been deadlocked since Manchin said he opposed it. Senate Democrats can't pass the plan over united GOP opposition without his critical vote.
The conservative Democrat objected to its cost and scope. He has also expressed skepticism about some provisions like the expanded child tax credit, which provided monthly checks to families until the program expired last year.
Still, Manchin cracked open the door for future talks on the bill, telling reporters: "Whatever we come up with, anything on the table — you talk about."
Manchin has spoken favorably in the past about certain measures in the bill, including $555 billion in proposed climate spending and an effort to establish universal pre-K for all three and four-year olds.
For now, Manchin is devoting more of his time on striking a bipartisan deal on overhauling the Electoral Count Act as a backup to broader voting-rights reforms.
Biden announced last month that he'll likely need to break up the legislation into "chunks" in order to get approval from all 50 Senate Democrats. Senate Democratic leaders eventually want to pass a slimmed-down version of the bill, but need Manchin's support.
One prominent progressive criticized Manchin anew. Sen. Bernie Sanders assailed Manchin as someone who had sided with "corporate America" by torpedoing the sprawling package.
"When you have a proposal that has the overwhelming support of the American people, and it's addressing the long-neglected crises facing working people, we cannot allow that to die," Sanders told reporters.
Read the original article on Business Insider