Biden declines to say whether Manchin broke his commitment

Build Back Better could break Biden, Democrats

Fox News contributor James Freeman on Sen. Joe Manchin, W-Va., dealing a huge blow to President Biden’s spending plan.

President Biden refused to comment on whether Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., broke his commitment to the president to support the Build Back Better legislation.

“Sen. Manchin and I are going to get something done,” Biden said Tuesday when asked if Manchin had backed away from previous support for the plan.

President Joe Biden
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

Biden’s remarks came during an impromptu press conference following his address to the nation outlining his plans to combat the omicron variant, with reporters peppering the president with questions about his ongoing negotiations with Manchin.

“Some people think maybe I’m not Irish because I don’t hold a grudge,” Biden said in response to another question about Manchin. “But I want to get things done. I still think there’s a possibility of getting Build Back Better done.”

The exchanges come after a drama-filled week featuring the president and the West Virginia Democrat, with Biden releasing a statement singling out Manchin for the delay in passing his massive legislation, a move that reportedly helped prompt the senator to completely cut off negotiations with the White House. 

Sen. Joe Manchin
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

“I’ve done everything humanly possible,” Manchin said during an appearance on Fox News over the weekend where he announced his opposition to Biden’s plan.

“When you have these things coming at you the way they are right now … I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” he said.

Manchin’s public announcement outraged the White House, which fired off a statement accusing the senator of an “inexplicable reversal in his position.”

(AP/Getty Images)

“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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday. “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.”

By Sunday evening, cooler heads had seemingly prevailed after Manchin and Biden spoke over the phone, a call that was described as cordial and ended with an understanding that negotiations over the legislation would continue in the new year.

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