President Joe Biden’s insisted he’d find common ground with Sen. Joe Manchin on his $2 trillion Build Back Better Act Tuesday, as the moderate Democrat talked to his caucus after pledging to torpedo the signature bill over inflation concerns.
The maverick West Virginia lawmaker, whose vote is crucial for Dems to maintain their razor thin advantage in the Senate, told the caucus his anti-inflation message has been consistent over the past five months, according to CNN.
“Inflation is a serious issue. These programs will cost more than they are saying. I can’t add to the debt,” Manchin, 74, reportedly said, while telling party members they need to raise revenue by taxing the rich.
President Biden said Tuesday that he was still hopeful he could “get something done” on the bill with Manchin, when asked if the wayward Democrat broke a commitment to him, according to the outlet.
“Some people think maybe I’m not Irish because I don’t hold a grudge. But I want to get things done,” Biden reportedly said. “I still think there’s a possibility of getting Build Back Better done.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly reiterated to Democrats they would still hold a procedural vote on the president’s signature legislation, despite Manchin’s objections.
“At this time, it is my intention to make the Senate substitute amendment the current Senate text as published and shared with your offices, unless we are able to reach an agreement on modifications acceptable to the entire caucus ahead of that,” Schumer said, according to CNN.
Manchin had indicated he would keep discussing the bill with his colleagues, but had “lots of concerns,” the cable network reported, citing a source.
“This evening Senator Manchin had an honest conversation with his colleagues for whom he has a great deal of respect,” a Manchin spokesperson reportedly said.
Democrats and Independents hold 50 seats in the Senate, but are able to maintain a majority thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
Manchin, who had been courted by Republicans after threatening to kill the president’s landmark bill, told a West Virginia radio host Monday that he “thinks” there is still a place for him in the Democratic party.
“I would like to hope that there are still Democrats that feel like I do. … I’m socially — I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” he said to MetroNews’ “Talkline.” “Now, if there’s no Democrats like that, then they’ll have to push me wherever they want me.”