After months of negotiations with the White House, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced he would not support the Biden administration's Build Back Better Act—the $2 trillion "soft" infrastructure bill expanding medicare, combatting the climate crisis, and prolonging the child tax credit instituted in the American Rescue Plan earlier this year.
Because Democrats needed all 50 of their Senators to support the passage of the bill through reconciliation, Manchin's "no" stance—at least for the moment—has dashed all hopes of its passage.
The major dispute between Manchin and the White House was with the child tax credit, which offered up to $3600 yearly per child—the largest child tax credit in American history that kept millions of children out of poverty.
Manchin, who had repeatedly called for narrowing access to the tax credit, excluded it altogether in a $1.8 trillion package he proposed to Biden, rendering the proposal a nonstarter for the White House.
In the wake of the Senator's reversal, new reporting has emerged that Manchin privately told colleagues he feared parents benefitting from the child tax credit would spend the money on drugs.
According to HuffPost:
"In recent months, Manchin has told several of his fellow Democrats that he thought parents would waste monthly child tax credit payments on drugs instead of providing for their children, according to two sources familiar with the senator’s comments. ... Manchin’s private comments shocked several senators, who saw it as an unfair assault on his own constituents and those struggling to raise children in poverty."
If Democrats weren't enraged enough by Manchin, this latest reporting made them even angrier.
Others weren't surprised.
As of last year, Manchin's state of West Virginia had the seventh highest child poverty rate in the nation. One analysis found that 91 percent of low-income parents are spending the child tax credit on basic necessities and education.