West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin confirmed to the media this Monday, December 20, that he will ultimately not vote for the $1.75 trillion budget that Democrats are trying to pass before the end of the year, citing his concern about the current inflation the country has and how this ‘mammoth’ spending could further trigger inflation.
“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,” Manchin told Fox News. “This is a no on this legislation.”
He explained that he had worked “diligently” on the bill, meeting with Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other colleagues to find a way forward. Still, He added that he remains extremely concerned about inflation, the $29 trillion federal debt, and the apparent wave of contagions from the new Omicron strain.
The senator said that if he can’t explain to his constituents why he voted for specific legislation, then he can’t do it.
“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face,” he added. “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”
Manchin’s decision ended any hopes Democrats had of passing spending before the end of the year.
Because no Republicans supported the budget, Democrats resorted to the budget reconciliation process, which allows a bill to pass with a simple majority, in this case, all Democratic votes.
Budget reconciliation adds spending to the previously approved annual budget, although it has certain limitations on what can be added.
Another item the West Virginia senator cited as critical relates to the Biden administration’s vision of using renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels.
“If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains,” Manchin said according to The Hill.
Finally, Manchin also sees imminent danger if the budget, whose primary focus is social spending, is passed and the U.S. enters an economic crisis how it will deal with the growing threat from the CCP and Russia in the face of conflicts over Taiwan and Ukraine.
“Our ability to quickly and effectively respond to these pending threats would be drastically hindered by our rising debt,” said the Democrat, considered the only centrist in the party.
Manchin’s decision comes after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), at the request of Republicans, released an analysis of the legislation known as ‘build back better,’ concluding that it would cost more than $4.5 trillion over the next decade if all of its provisions are renewed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki disavowed Manchin’s decision not to vote for the legislation after the senator had previously shown interest in reaching a compromise.
“If his comments on Fox and his written statement signal an end to that effort, they 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,” Psaki said in a statement.
“Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word,” the press secretary added.