build back better act
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.
"America has the child highest poverty rate among developed countries but solving it would allow a small percentage of people to engage in behavior I don't like" is the most cruel, small-minded position imaginable but since it's "moderate" we have to pretend it's legitimate. https://t.co/DPkBRjhHb7
— Michael Hobbes (@RottenInDenmark) December 20, 2021
It’s one thing when poor people resent fellow poor people, but takes a particular kind to be galactically wealthy and and still hate poor people. Just rake in your dough, man! https://t.co/rfSZ9otWwa
— Dan Riffle (@DanRiffle) December 20, 2021
Joe Manchin has nearly as much contempt for his constituents as I have for him. https://t.co/aPkFzf9xQN
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) December 20, 2021
Concerns we never hear when giving tax cuts to the rich: https://t.co/HiOV8xgbqk
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) December 20, 2021
This is jaw-dropping, staggeringly vicious stuff, in addition to being shockingly disrespectful to his own constituents. https://t.co/SLGyoNILGO
— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) December 20, 2021
Others weren't surprised.
Was born in WV, have seen this guy claw his way to the position he has now, and his low opinion of his constituents (who he righteously holds up as the reason for blocking legislation that would benefit them immensely) does not surprise me even a little bit. https://t.co/fQ5VeSCqjV
— evan minsker (@evanminsker) December 20, 2021
This does not surprise me. So much of our political leadership is nowhere near up to the task of preserving democracy, a livable environment, let alone reducing income inequality and poverty. They crush regular people while spitting on them in the process. https://t.co/HgiC0EmHcc
— Emily Knight (@Emily_P_Knight) December 20, 2021
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.