Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera praised Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for standing against President Joe Biden’s mammoth spending package, the Build Back Better Act.
Rivera took to Twitter to voice his opinion, saying, “Despite relentless badgering, barrages of insults and Hollywood star slanders of #WestVirginians Sen_JoeManchin did what he always telegraphed: reveal #BBB as bloated with a feast of noble-sounding, budget-busting pork for poverty-pimps.”
Despite relentless badgering, barrages of insults and Hollywood star slanders of #WestVirginians Sen_JoeManchin did what he always telegraphed: reveal #BBB as bloated with a feast of noble-sounding, budget-busting pork for poverty-pimps.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) December 21, 2021
Manchin had signaled months earlier that he was not comfortable with the price tag of the behemoth social spending bill — and he even sat down with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July, detailing the issues he wanted to see addressed before he could vote for the package in a statement they both signed. He had said repeatedly that his top-line amount for the total package was $1.5 trillion, and he warned that with inflation on the rise, it would be unwise to push through anything larger.
But as the Democrats’ self-imposed Christmas deadline approached, members of the House Progressive caucus had put pressure on Manchin and fellow moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), both of whom they needed on board — in addition to the tie-breaker vote promised by Vice President Kamala Harris — if they wanted to pass the BBB using the reconciliation process.
Manchin made his final decision this past weekend, announcing to “Fox News Sunday” host Bret Baier that he was “a no on this legislation.” He said that President Biden had been fair in his negotiations, but that at the end of the day they just could not meet in the middle. Citing continued concerns about inflation — which he said that West Virginians were already feeling in a number of aspects of their everyday lives — he also noted that Congress should instead be focused on how to handle the surging Omicron variant rather than taking on more spending and sweeping new programs.
As The Daily Wire reported:
“I’ve done everything humanly possible. And you know my concerns I had, and I still have these concerns,” Manchin continued, noting that the people in his home state of West Virginia were already feeling the impact of inflation and he was concerned that it would not be a transitory thing. “It’s real, it’s harming every West Virginian, it’s making it almost — difficult for them to continue to go to their jobs. The cost of gasoline, the cost of groceries, the cost of utility bills, all of these things are hitting in every aspect of their life and you start looking at — then you have the debt that we are carrying at $29 trillion, you have also the geopolitical unrest that we have. You have the COVID, the COVID variant, and that is wreaking havoc again, people are concerned.”
“With my family, I know everyone is concerned, so when you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I’ve always said this, Bret: if I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it, and 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 added.
The White House quickly responded to Manchin with a scathing rebuke authored by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who accused Manchin of negotiating in bad faith and of reversing his position at the last moment.
“Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” she said.
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