Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, AP Photo/Alastair Grant
- Ocasio-Cortez criticized Manchin after he reiterated his opposition to the Build Back Better plan.
- She asked whether struggling public-housing residents should be directed to “Manchin’s yacht.”
- Democrats cannot pass their economic agenda without Manchin’s support.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on Tuesday took a swing at Sen. Joe Manchin after the West Virginia lawmaker doubled down on his opposition to the Build Back Better agenda.
President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion healthcare, climate, and social-spending plan has been floundering for over a month since Manchin came out against the bill in December. That left the party with little to show after six months of negotiations with the Democratic holdout.
“Seniors, kids, & people with disabilities in my community have been sleeping with bubble jackets on in 18 degree nights, despite paying rent, bc the NYCHA funding to fix their heating and capital needs is in BBB,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Where should I direct them to wait out the cold? Manchin’s yacht?”
She was referring to the Washington, DC, houseboat, “Almost Heaven,” on which Manchin lives. Several boat builders and maritime-industry professionals have previously said that it’s a stretch to call the 65-foot vessel a yacht.
Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most vocal advocates for an ambitious package that includes funding for affordable housing, expanded childcare, and an extension of monthly cash payments for families.
She stepped up her criticism of Manchin last week, telling MSNBC that he had “a different demand” for the bill from one day to the next.
Ocasio-Cortez has also spent much of the past week drawing attention to the freezing temperatures caused by a broken heating plant at the Woodside Houses public-housing complex in her district. The plant, according to the Sunnyside Post, was damaged during Hurricane Ida and has not been fully repaired.
Manchin on Tuesday declared the House-approved Build Back Better bill “dead.”
“What Build Back Better bill?” Manchin told Insider when asked about a tax break being included in a skinnier version of the plan. “There is no Build Back Better bill. I don’t know what y’all are talking about.”
He later left the door cracked open to negotiations on a separate plan. Manchin has spoken favorably about some chunks of the bill, including a program to establish universal pre-K and climate-spending measures.
Manchin wields outsize influence over the Democratic Party’s agenda since the Senate is split 50-50 between both parties. Senate Democrats can’t pass the package without his support, which leaves them with no option but to eventually draft a separate bill that addresses his concerns about the national debt and inflation.
Manchin, meanwhile, appears to be focusing most of his time and energy leading a bipartisan group of senators working on election-reform proposals, including the modernization of the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
“We know this is something we need to do,” Manchin told reporters Monday. “I mean, this is as important as anything we’ve done.”