Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said Sunday that he will vote against the $ 1.75 trillion social spending package championed by President Joe Biden, making it extremely difficult to pass and sinking the options that it will go ahead, at least. in its current wording.
Manchin, the most conservative politician within the Democratic wing in the Senate, said in a speech on Fox News channel that he cannot “vote for this legislation to continue, “ although he claimed to have “tried everything humanly possible” to make it go ahead.
“(President Biden) knows the concerns and problems I have had,” said Manchin, who from the beginning had always been very skeptical of this star White House measure, considering that it would skyrocket public spending and further increase public spending. already very high inflation.
Just a few hours after the senator’s decision was known, the press secretary of the US government, Jen Psaki, issued a very harsh statement against Manchin, whom she accused of having broken “his commitment to the president and his colleagues in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. “
“His comments represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position,” said Psaki, who assured that the senator had promised Biden on a visit to his home in Delaware to support the framework of the social plan and that he committed “several times” to negotiate what was lacking in good faith.
Biden’s plan, which was already approved by the House of Representatives in a tight vote in November, represents a historic expansion of public spending (it has come to be compared to the “New Deal” of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s) , especially in the fields of health, child poverty and the fight against climate change.
The vote of Manchin, who despite belonging to the Democratic Party represents West Virginia, one of the most conservative states in the country, is essential to carry out the legislation in the Senate, divided 50% between Democrats and Republicans.
The Democrats wanted to pass the plan without the need for Republican support – all conservatives have been against it – through a process known as “reconciliation” that allows a budget law to be carried out in the Upper House with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes that are normally required.
Without Manchin’s vote, the Democrats, who only have 50 of the 100 seats, will not reach that threshold, although they do have the possible tiebreaker vote of the US Vice President, Kamala Harris, who is president of the Senate.
After knowing the decision of the senator, his colleague in ranks Bernie Sanders, from the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party, said that the bill should continue its journey and be voted on in the full Senate so that Manchin has “to explain to the people of Why West Virginia doesn’t have the courage to stand up to the power of special interests. “