West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin now opposes his own counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal as talks continue to stall, The Washington Post reports.
Manchin late last year presented the White House with a $1.8 trillion proposal that he would support in lieu of the Democrats’ offer, which he views as a backdoor way to introduce short-term programs that would have to be funded long-term in future bills. But after balking at the White House’s complaints about him stalling negotiations, Manchin now opposes that proposal as well, according to the Post.
Manchin has publicly said that he is no longer involved in White House negotiations about the package and has privately said that he is not interested in voting for a bill that resembles Biden’s proposal.
Senior Democrats say they do not believe Manchin would vote in favor of his own proposal even if it was introduced as is.
Manchin blows up negotiations over mean statement:
Manchin pulled out of talks and went on Fox News to criticize the bill after the White House issued a statement naming him as a key reason that negotiations would be delayed into 2022.
Manchin claimed that the statement put him and his family in danger.
Talks have further stalled in the Senate as Democrats renew their focus on passing voting rights reform this month.
Manchin’s counteroffer included 10 years of funding for a universal pre-K program, an expansion of Obamacare, and hundreds of billions of dollars for climate spending. The plan also included a tax on billionaires.
The plan does not include the expanded child tax credit, funding for housing or racial equity initiatives, and an expansion of Medicare benefits.
“A $1.8 trillion package along the lines of what Manchin offered last month would be one of the most transformative, progressive pieces of legislation in modern history,” Ben Ritz, a budget expert at the Progressive Policy Institute told the Post. “The White House should absolutely take it if they can.”
Manchin like a “Etch A Sketch”:
Democrats involved in recent meetings compared speaking to Manchin to “negotiating via Etch a Sketch,” according to Axios
"You think you're just about there. You think you've got an agreement on most of the things and it's settling in. And then you come back the next morning and you're starting from scratch," one Democratic source told the outlet.
“I think he listens to everybody, which is the problem. Whoever he's heard from most recently has the upper hand," another source said.