Manchin ‘turned down’ White House call before tanking to rebuild better bill: report

  • Manchin “refused to take a call from White House staff” before his Build Back Better announcement, by policy.
  • Less than half an hour before his interview with Fox News, Manchin asked an aide to call the White House.
  • Biden officials attempted to intercept Manchin but were unsuccessful, according to the report.

Shortly before West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin made an explosive appearance on “Fox News Sunday” where he announced his opposition to signing President Joe Biden Build Back Better legislation, he “refused to take a call. White House staff “despite their efforts to avoid his decision, according to a Politico report.

Less than half an hour before Manchin’s interview with host Bret Baier, the Mountain State lawmaker dispatched an aide to brief the White House and Congressional leadership of his intentions.

As Manchin prepared for his interview with Baier, there was apprehension and disbelief in the White House over Manchin’s decision to escalate the welfare spending bill by sending an aide to brief them. officials responsible for the administration of his future public position, especially during the talks. appears to be ongoing, according to the report.

When senior Biden officials in the White House sought to contact the senator and speak to him directly, they were unsuccessful, according to a senior White House official who spoke to Politico.

“We tried to get him away,” the aide said, but the senator “refused to take a call from White House staff.”

According to the report, Manchin did not notify Baier in advance that he would make the astonishing statement regarding the legislation, which would establish universal pre-kindergarten, renew monthly child tax credit payments to families for another year and fight against climate change, among others. other provisions.

Manchin began his interview by saying he was working “diligently” with the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress to advance the legislation, but said he couldn’t go any further.

“I’ve worked on this, met – whether it’s the president, President Biden, whether it’s Majority Leader Schumer and his team, whether it’s with Nancy Pelosi, all of my colleagues. I mean, from all the specters of the political spectrum, if you will, from right to left. I have done everything that was humanly possible, “he declared.

He then referred to inflation, the national debt and the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus before delivering his position.

If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this bill, ”he said.

“I just can’t.… I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t do it,” he said.

Politico reported that Democrats in Congress found Manchin’s actions distasteful.

“Manchin did not have the courage to call the White House or the Democratic leadership himself in advance,” a Democrat with knowledge of the situation told the publication.

joe manchin

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin speaks with reporters after leaving the Senate at the United States Capitol on May 28, 2021.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

“Look, with Manchin, you never know”

At Biden’s White House, there is “a sense of betrayal” on Manchin’s part, according to the report.

As recently as last week, Manchin said he could back legislation “in the park of $ 1.75 billion,” according to the same senior official, who said Manchin’s trading figure was “per writing”. Aides reportedly discussed whether to disclose the document, according to Politico.

“Listen to what Manchin himself has been saying all week,” the official said. “How many times has he said he ‘doesn’t oppose’ the bill, that he just wanted to align programs with pay?”

With Manchin’s action, Democrats are forced to regroup as an election year approaches where they face serious political headwinds – moving forward with a way forward with a bill that may concern both chambers of Congress.

The question remains what kind of bill can move forward in the equally divided Senate and with little GOP appetite for one of the spending plans Democrats have been chasing for years, especially since Manchin continues to effectively wield veto power over Biden’s agenda. in 2022.

“Look, with Manchin, you never know,” the senior White House official told Politico. “I’ve never seen anything like it… The guy shook hands with the President. He made us a written offer on Tuesday that had holes but was doable. If he turned away so quickly, maybe be that he can go back. “

On Sunday, A declaration White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called on Manchin for the abrupt change in stance on the bill.

“While his comments on FOX and his written statement indicate the end of this effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable turnaround in his position and a violation of his commitments to the President and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” he said. she declared.

“Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to urge him to see if he reverses his position again, to honor his previous commitments and to be true to his word”, a- she added.

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