Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
- Bernie Sanders says Joe Manchin is “intentionally sabotaging” President Biden’s legislative agenda.
- While on ABC, Sanders said Manchin doesn’t represent “working families in West Virginia or America.”
- Manchin last week threw cold water on a climate and tax plan that Democrats spent weeks negotiating.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday blasted Sen. Joe Manchin after the West Virginia Democrat sunk the Democratic-led climate and tax bill that the party had been negotiating for weeks.
While speaking with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz, the Vermont lawmaker decried Manchin’s stance that he could no longer support the legislation due to his concerns over inflation and said the lawmaker was “sabotaging” President Joe Biden’s agenda.
fAnd he became visibly animated when Raddatz said that Manchin “abruptly” ended talks with Democratic leaders regarding the bill.
“Senator Joe Manchin, of course abruptly pulled the plug this week on the Democratic plan,” Raddatz said before Sanders interjected.
“He didn’t abruptly do anything,” Sanders said. “He has sabotaged the president’s agenda.”
He continued: “If you check the record six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin and [Arizona Sen. Kyrsten] Sinema to a lesser degree who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about this.”
Sanders then laced into Manchin’s political fundraising, pointing out his ties to the energy industry — which holds immense sway in West Virginia — and Republican donors.
“This is a guy who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money … a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” he said.
When Raddatz countered that Manchin said he wanted to act in the best interest of West Virginia given that inflation last month rose 9.1 percent from a year earlier, Sanders replied: “Really? Really?”
During a Friday interview with West Virginia broadcaster Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin said he told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York that he wanted to see July’s inflation figures next month before taking any further action on the bill.
“I said, ‘Chuck until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July Federal Reserve rates, interest rates, then let’s wait until that comes out so we know that we were going down the path that won’t be inflammatory to add more to inflation. Inflation is absolutely killing many, many people,'” he said during the interview, pointing to higher food and fuel costs.
Sanders on Sunday was not impressed with Manchin’s reasoning regarding the proposed bill.
“Same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” he told Raddatz. “You ask the people of West Virginia whether they want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eyeglasses. Ask the people of West Virginia whether or not all people should have health care as a human right, like in every other country on Earth.”
“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America,” he added.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Politico last week that Manchin could no longer be trusted.
“Senator Manchin has said a lot of things,” she expressed. “Every time what he makes clear, over and over again, is that he can’t close a deal and that you can’t trust what he says.”
Last December, Manchin tanked the party’s expansive Build Back Better legislation, which was intended to be a multitrillion-dollar social-spending bill that would have established universal pre-K, renewed monthly child tax credit payments to families for another year, and tackled climate change, among other provisions.
Democrats sought to pass the bill through the reconciliation process, but with Manchin effectively holding veto power in the evenly-divided Senate, he scuttled the legislation much to the dismay of Biden and congressional Democrats — despite the White House and party leaders having worked to make major concessions to win his support.
Biden on Friday urged Democrats to pass a slimmed-down bill focused on health care provisions and federal deficit reduction.