Wasserman-Schultz Joins Progressives Attacking Manchin For Social Spending Bill Rejection

Wasserman-Schultz Joins Progressives Attacking Manchin For Social Spending Bill Rejection

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
December 21, 2021

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) joined fellow  Progressive Democrats in lashing out at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) after he announced that he will not support President Biden's social welfare spending bill, essentially tanking the passage of the massive $1.75 trillion package.

Manchin told "Fox News Sunday" this past weekend that he could not vote in support of the social spending package given the real underlying cost of the bill and its impact on the ongoing inflation.

"I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there," Manchin said on "Fox News Sunday."

Wasserman-Schultz responded to Manchin's stunning announcement with dismay, tweeting that Democrats should not "give up" on passing Biden's spending bill, claiming the party can still change the West Virginia senator's mind.

Democrats made #ARP + #BIF into law w/ thin margins, don't give up #BuildBackBetter yet. If Manchin reversed himself today, he can again tomorrow. WV seniors need cheaper prescriptions as bad as #FLseniors do," she tweeted.

The Florida Democrat reposted an interview she did with MSNBC's "Yasmin Vossoughian Report" on her tweet post where she expressed frustration at Manchin for failing to meet his constituents' needs.

"Well, obviously it's incredibly disappointing that Joe Manchin has — I guess the only impression I can leave you with is that he hasn't been negotiating in good faith, or at least what appears that he hasn't been negotiating in good faith," Wasserman-Schultz said on MSNBC Sunday.

Wasserman-Schultz recalled her "legislative experience" as a veteran of the Obamacare Congressional battle to argue that the West Virginia Senator opposition was more "like a pothole than a brick wall."

The Florida congresswoman vowed to "put as much of the Build Back Better Act" on Biden's desk for his signature, declaring her commitment to continuing forward with negotiations on those major provisions. Wasserman-Schultz also pledged to press Manchin to support some version from the bill, including lowering prescription drug costs and affordable childcare, saying both

"Let's try to make sure that we can continue to negotiate. Let's find what can get a majority and send that to Joe Biden's desk. It's the 50 yard that's how I look at this," Wasserman-Schultz stated.

Getting Democrats to agree and rewrite a slimmed-down deal with a narrow prioritized list of social programs that are fully funded and would accommodate Manchin's $1.75 trillion thresholds will be a difficult task ahead of the 2022 midterms.

Manchin's unexpected announcement sparked outrage amongst progressive Democrats, many of whom predicted this outcome would occur once they lost their leverage. For months, House progressives held the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage, demanding that the nearly $2 trillion social welfare spending be voted together. The bills were finally decoupled last month after Biden's pledged to Progressives that he would get all 50 Democratic Senators on board in passing the social spending bill by the end of the year.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday just moments after Manchin broke the news said his fellow moderate colleague is "gonna have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia" claiming his refusals is because he "doesn't have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the six progressive lawmakers who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, called Manchin's excuse "bullsh-t, and a Democrat who could not be trusted among the caucus." Another Squad member, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who also voted against the infrastructure bill, reiterated Omar's sentiment regarding the "lack and deficit of trust" towards Manchin. In the interview with CNN, Pressley decried the West Virginia Senator for "obstructing the President's agenda."

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed to bring the package up during the first week of the new year to voice "their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television." The Senate Leader also issued a threat that he will force Manchin to vote multiple times on the "revised version" to show the American public his opposition to the massive Democrat social welfare bill or "until we get something done."

In response to scathing criticism from members within his party, Manchin indicated in a statement that his own party's agenda posed a threat to the nation.

"My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face," Manchin said in a statement. "I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores, and utility bills with no end in sight."

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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