Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, dismissed President Biden’s congressional aspirations in his State of the Union address, virtually stopping any attempt to renew Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan.
As The Hill noted, Manchin told reporters quickly after the address he had not altered his opinion about Biden’s spending proposal.
Manchin attacked the effort to combat inflation and rising expenses through increased government spending.
Manchin refuted Biden’s assertion that his strategy, which primarily consisted of increased expenditure and economic incentives, would result in cost savings for Americans.
He explained, “I’ve never uncovered that you can conserve money by expending more.”
That exchange led Republican Senator Mitt Romney to joke, “You can’t express it better than that,” as he sat alongside Manchin throughout the speech and walked past the scrum of reporters.
Manchin then turned his attention to inflation, notably the continued rise in the price of crude oil in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Joe Manchin just laid out a new set of guidelines on a reconciliation bill he can accept. After talking to a few experts, we think it could do a lot of good. There's a route forward, these experts suggest, if he is serious.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 2, 2022
He renewed his appeal for the US to halt daily imports of Russian oil barrels and increase domestic production to assist the US and its allies in filling in the gaps left by Russian oil production.
“We must collaborate with our partners to backfill areas throughout the world that require assistance,” he said.
When a reporter inquired whether he was engaging Democratic colleagues on the proposal, Manchin responded bluntly, “Not until you get your fiscal house in order.”
Manchin’s principal focus has been on inflation management. “It just keeps stacking up,” he explained. “Today, inflation is America’s number one adversary.”
State of the Union Address
Manchin has since proposed the proposal’s basic structure.
According to the Washington Examiner, Manchin proposed a compromise package Wednesday that would alter the federal tax code and empower the government to negotiate prescription costs.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 2, 2022
Once the government determines how much cash the reforms would generate, Manchin’s proposal would direct half of the revenue toward deficit reduction and debt reduction.
The remaining half might be used to support a priority issue, such as climate initiatives or long-term social spending. Manchin has not yet met with the White House to discuss the concept.
In his State of the Union address, Biden urged Americans to increase their manufacturing of basic items and to invest in infrastructure and supply chains.
He also pitched his cost-cutting plan, which included “investments and government subsidies” for weatherizing and increasing energy efficiency in businesses and homes, which he contends would save the average household $500 per year, and much more.
On Tuesday afternoon, Biden was anticipated to double down on his environmental and social spending agenda. Congressional Democrats called for a scaled-back domestic spending bill that would carry a party-line vote under budget reconciliation.