U.S. Senator Joe Manchin on Sunday slammed the door on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion domestic spending bill, saying he would not support the package.
“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I have tried everything humanly possible."
Manchin’s comments came in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
In response, White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a pointed statement saying Manchin’s remarks were “at odds” with what he told the President and (quote), “represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”
His comments also drew outrage from liberal Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders - who helped shape the bill and called for a vote on the measure despite Manchin's opposition.
The West Virginia senator has been a key holdout on the White House's "Build Back Better" plan, which aims to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change and is the cornerstone of Biden's legislative agenda.
In a statement released after his Fox News Sunday interview, Manchin said that increasing the U.S. debt load would "drastically hinder" the country's ability to respond to the health crisis and geopolitical threats.
His support is crucial in a chamber where Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united against the bill.
After Manchin’s interview, Republican Senator Ben Sasse issued a statement saying (quote), “President Biden’s mega-spending bill is dead and Joe Manchin put the nail in the coffin,” adding that the spending proposal was "wildly out-of-touch" and "nakedly-partisan."
The bill has already passed the Democratic-controlled House.
Many Democrats feel its passage in the Senate is essential to the party's chances of maintaining control of Congress in next year's midterm elections.
Psaki in her statement said the White House would find a way to move forward with the legislation in 2022.