White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement Sunday accusing Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) of reversing his position and breaching commitments made to President Joe Biden when he said on “Fox News Sunday” that he could not move forward with the Build Back Better Act.
Citing inflation, which he said was clearly not transitory and impacting West Virginians on many levels, Manchin had told Fox News anchor Bret Baier just hours earlier that he was a definite “no” on the president’s signature legislation — the behemoth spending package that has been pitting Democrats against each other for months.
Psaki argued in her statement that Manchin’s comments were “at odds” with what he had told President Biden and said they represented “a breach of his commitments” with regard to continuing negotiations.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) December 19, 2021
Psaki’s statement reads, in part:
Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on FOX are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances. Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced. Senator Manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework “in good faith.”
On Tuesday of this week, Senator Manchin came to the White House and submitted—to the President, in person, directly—a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities. While that framework was missing key priorities, we believed it could lead to a compromise acceptable to all. Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate 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 went on to argue, as the White House has in the past, that the Build Back Better Act was “completely paid for” and would therefore not contribute to the deficit or to inflation.
She went on to say that the White House would continued to pressure Manchin to change his position, adding, “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.”
“In the meantime, Senator Manchin will have to explain to those families paying $1,000 a month for insulin why they need to keep paying that, instead of $35 for that vital medicine,” Psaki continued. “He will have to explain to the nearly two million women who would get the affordable day care they need to return to work why he opposes a plan to get them the help they need. Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone—we cannot.”
“The fight for Build Back Better is too important to give up. We will find a way to move forward next year,” Psaki concluded.