Senator Sanders says Manchin ‘sabotaging’ President Biden’s agenda ‘nothing new’
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not abruptly tank President Biden’s climate agenda when he pulled the plug on negotiations last week, arguing that Manchin was never actually serious about the package.
Manchin on Friday provoked fury from Democrats when he said he was not interested in immediately moving forward with a reconciliation package that includes climate provisions, citing recent high inflation figures.
“He abruptly on Friday did that,” said anchor Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Martha, let me disagree with you,” Sanders responded. “He didn’t abruptly do anything.”
Sanders argued that Manchin, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to a lesser degree, is “intentionally sabotaging” Biden’s agenda and Friday’s announcement was “nothing new.”
“The problem was that we continue to talk to Manchin like he was serious,” said Sanders. “He was not. This is a guy who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires.”
Democrats for months have attempted to pass a package under reconciliation — a tactic that avoids needing to find 60 votes to overcome a filibuster — that includes legislation on drug prices, climate and tax increases for the wealthy and corporations.
Manchin last December tanked negotiations over a $2 trillion reconciliation package, dubbed Build Back Better, but he has since been privately negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to revive a potential deal.
On Friday, Manchin warned he would not immediately support the climate provisions given June’s inflation report that showed annual inflation rising to a nearly 41-year high of 9.1 percent.
Instead, the West Virginia senator told Schumer that he was interested in a slimmed down bill to reduce prescription drug prices.
“The same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” Sanders said on Sunday of Manchin’s announcement.
Sanders also portrayed Manchin’s position as out of step with his constituents.
“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America,” said Sanders.
When reached for comment, a Manchin spokesperson deferred to a radio interview the senator conducted on Friday.