‘N-O-T-H-I-N-G’: Manchin dodges reporters' questions as Democrats' agenda hangs in the balance
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W) refused to tell reporters anything about his conversations with the Senate Democratic caucus after he quickly exited their lunch focused on the upcoming agenda. Many blame Manchin for killing President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion social and climate package that would help the American people during the pandemic and after, and help Democrats and the President keep their promises, by strengthening the federal safety net for families and low-income workers, and acting on climate change. Among its provisions were to be extending the child tax credit, which is critical, especially to working families.
“N-O-T-H-I-N-G,” a “dodging” Sen. Manchin spelled out to reporters, as Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen shared.
Manchin dodging reporters on his way out from Democratic caucus lunch, says he has nothing to tell us. \n\n\u201cN-O-T-H-I-N-G,\u201d he spelled.— Max Cohen (@Max Cohen) 1639680472
CNN’s Manu Raju confirms that “Manchin left the Democratic lunch after less than 30 minutes. Discussion was about the agenda at lunch. He wouldn’t answer questions when he left.” But he did take the time to reject “criticism from Democrats” that he’s been essentially rewriting the bill for months, and yet still refuses to support it.
Manchin rejected the criticism from Democrats that he's demanding major changes to the Build Back Better bill at the eleventh hour.\n\n"Everybody has," he told me, referring to asking for major changes to the bill. "Everybody has."— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1639680004
That criticism from Democrats isn’t just from his fellow Senate lawmakers, but includes, for example, “a group of West Virginia parents gathered on a video call as part of a last-minute effort to turn up the heat on one of their senators, Democrat Joe Manchin III,” as The Washington Post reported Thursday.
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“It was just the latest instance of a months-long, grass-roots effort to cajole Manchin as he decides how to vote on the tax-and-spending measure. He’s under pressure not only from Biden and congressional Democrats, but also a range of constituents in his home state.”
Manchin has been exceptionally hostile to reporters. On Wednesday after HuffPost Politics reporter Arthur Delaney asked the West Virginia lawmaker if he wanted to drop the child tax credit, Manchin “yelled,” “This is bullshit. You’re bullshit,” according to The Hill and Delaney on social media:
I had asked if it was true he wanted CTC out of BBB. \n\n\u201cI've always been for child tax credits,\u201d he said.\n\nSo I asked if he wants it to continue paying parents $300 a month, and he said he was not going to "negotiate" with me and that I'm bullshit— Arthur Delaney \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Arthur Delaney \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1639591468
Manchin got Democrats to slash the original bill, nearly in half, but after negotiations with the White House reportedly “soured” on Wednesday, the Biden administration made clear it would push the legislation into next year and turn its focus to voting rights.
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