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Tipsheet

'Never Negotiated in Good Faith': Squad Members Respond to Manchin's Opposition to Build Back Better

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Progressive Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Cori Bush (D-MO), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Sunday reacted to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announcing that he would not vote for President Joe Biden's social spending bill, otherwise known as the Build Back Better Act.

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Manchin told host Brett Baier on "Fox News Sunday" that he is "a no on this legislation," which infuriated Democrats.

Pressley sounded off on Manchin's remarks during an appearance on CNN’s "State of the Union," when she said the moderate Democrat has "continued to move the goalposts."

"He has never negotiated in good faith," she said. "And he is obstructing the President's agenda. Eighty-five percent of which is still left on the table. And in obstructing the president's agenda, he is obstructing the people's agenda."

And Omar, joining MSNBC's Ali Velshi for an interview, said she knew Manchin "couldn't be trusted."

"The excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bull----," she said. "It is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of West Virginia because that's a complete lie. … There are just so many things that, you know, the people of West Virginia desperately need, and we know that he is not working on behalf of their interest, and I really am just completely disappointed and disgusted by his reasoning."

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Bush, meanwhile, noted that she and several of her fellow progressive Democrats – Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar, Tlaib and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) – expected Manchin to be a "no" on the legislation and said that the party lost leverage in passing Build Back Better when the Congressional Progressive Caucus allowed the bill to be separated from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law last month.

"We have been saying this for weeks, that this would happen and we took the hits, Bush told MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart. "We were told that we were anti our caucus, we were anti-democracy we were anti-this and that, when actually, what we were and what we still are is pro the people because the people have to be first, the people have to win."

"What we had was a bit of leverage, which was having the coupling of the two bills, the infrastructure package, as well as the Build Back Better Act," she continued. "Having those coupled together was the only leverage we had, and what did the caucus do? We tossed it."

Tlaib took to Twitter to say that "It shouldn't surprise anyone that Manchin goes on Fox to kill" Build Back Better and echoed Bush's remarks that progressives expected the senator to vote against the bill. 

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"He's been promising to do it for months, and some folks didn't want to believe him," Tlaib said. "We gave up our leverage the moment [bipartisan infrastructure] passed and he got the fossil fuel subsidies he wanted."

"Our constituents deserve so much more," she continued. "We were elected to deliver economic relief, we promised to put people's needs before corporate greed. Hold the vote and make Manchin follow through on the betrayal of his constituents instead of enjoying the attention on TV."

Ocasio-Cortez echoed declarations about progressives predicting Manchin's "no" vote as well, saying in a Twitter thread that "we knew he would do this months ago" and added that Biden and Democratic leadership are to blame for the party's failure to pass the social spending bill, not Manchin.

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