Senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia’s Democratic senator, has received lots of praise from the right for refusing to back Biden’s massive spending package, the Build Back Better bill. Unwilling to spend trillions more dollars we don’t have on programs we don’t need, Manchin has said time and time again that he won’t back the spending package.
However, according to Axios, he might be rethinking that opposition and hopping onto the Build Back Better bandwagon. In that outlet’s words:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told a group of climate activists and energy executives he’s open to supporting revised Build Back Better legislation narrowly addressing three issues: climate change, prescription drug prices and deficit reduction.
Why it matters: Manchin’s private comments during a closed-door dinner Monday are a clear indication he’s serious about returning to the negotiating table, but for a much smaller version of President Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion proposal, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.
Further, Sam Runyon, a spokesperson for the senator, said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday that:
“Senator Manchin is always willing to engage in discussions about the best way to move our country forward. Senator Manchin is always willing to engage in discussions about the best way to move our country forward. He continues to be deeply concerned about the financial condition of our country and feels that combating inflation by restoring fairness to our tax system and paying down our national debt should be our top priority.”
“He has made it plain that we can safeguard energy independence while also responding to climate change. We can do both at the same time. It is essential that we retain our energy independence by pursuing an energy policy that includes all of the aforementioned elements in order to continue producing energy that is cleaner than anywhere else in the world. Moreover, he maintains his belief that we can and must cut the cost of prescription drugs for working Americans in order to ensure that no family is forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying for life-saving prescriptions.”
As part of those discussions, Axios reports that Manchin reportedly sketched out the outlines of a passage he’d be willing to vote for, one that includes approximately $500 billion for climate change and $1 trillion in new tax revenue.
He would not, however, be willing to back other Team Biden “human infrastructure” priorities such as universal preschool and Universal preschool, as well as the other care-economy measures included in Biden’s initial “human infrastructure” package, have not received any backing from him so far.
Further, Axios adds that “Despite the headline number, climate activists and progressives are likely to be disappointed by Manchin’s energy spending priorities“. That’s because he hasn’t gone all in on some of their priorities: “Manchin clearly wants to invest more money for energy independence, including incentives to produce more natural gas domestically.”
Regardless, it’s still a major change of tune, one that will likely frustrate Republicans who had been backing and supporting Manchin, glad that he was standing up to the radical left.