Bernie Sanders Wants to Hold Joe Manchin to His Word on Coming Out Against BBB with a Floor Vote

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Posted: Dec 19, 2021 1:30 PM
Bernie Sanders Wants to Hold Joe Manchin to His Word on Coming Out Against BBB with a Floor Vote

Source: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

As Landon covered on Sunday morning, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) shared on "Fox News Sunday" that he will not vote for the $1.75 trillion reconciliation spending bill, also known as President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act. Since Democrats could not afford to lose a single Democrat in the 50-50 Senate, Manchin has killed the bill. That being said, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with the Democrats and is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, still wants it to come up for a vote so he can put Manchin on record. 

"If Sen. Joe Manchin wants to vote against the Build Back Better Act, he should have the opportunity to do so with a floor vote as soon as the Senate returns," a statement from Sanders shared to Twitter began.

"I also find it amusing that Sen. Manchin indicates his worry about the deficit after voting just this week for a military budget of $778 billion, four times greater than Build Back Better over ten years and $25 billion more than the president requested," Sanders closed his statement with as he compared two very different pieces of legislation. 

It's worth noting as well that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 passed last week with a vote of 88-11

Sanders also had a similar reaction during Sunday's episode of CNN's "State of the Union."

"Well, I think he's going to have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia to tell him why he doesn't have the guts to take on the drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs, why he is not prepared to expand home health care," Sanders said in his reaction.

He also confirmed to host Jake Tapper that he "absolutely" still wants to bring the bill for a vote even if it will fail, also later indicating during the segment that "if he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world."

Sanders also would not give a straight answer when asked by Tapper "did this you know this coming?" The Democratic-Socialist merely responded to that with a "well, look, we have been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month after month."

This is a departure from the White House statement, which Katie highlighted earlier today. In that very lengthy statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed that Manchin's statements in opposition "are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances."

It's worth highlighting that the bill had not been completed, in part because Democrats were at odds with the recommendations of the Senate parliamentarian over including immigration in the bill. Because Democrats were hoping to pass it through the reconciliation process, so that they would only need all 50 Democrats to come on board, the bill needs to focus on issues to do with cost and revenue. 

Sens. Sanders and Manchin have been at odds before over the legislation. As I covered in October, Manchin did not take kindly to Sanders publishing an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, calling on Manchin to support Build Back Better. The outlet is located in West Virginia while Sanders is a senator from Vermont.

Manchin called out Sanders as an "out-of-stater" and "self-declared Independent socialist" in a statement posted to Twitter.

Sen. Manchin has focused his Twitter posts on Sunday to mourning the death of his former Senate colleague, Johnny Isakson (R-GA). He retired from the Senate in 2019 and was replaced by Kelly Loeffler, who went on to lose to Sen. Raphael Warnock in the January runoff election.

Angry Twitter users took to responding to the unrelated tweet mourning a friend as a way to vent their frustrations with Manchin's opposition to the bill.