(CBS) – Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Sunday he can no longer support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the $1.75 trillion tax and spending plan that includes Democrats’ key domestic policy initiatives.
“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,” Manchin said. “This is a no on this piece of legislation. I have tried everything I know to do.”
Manchin has been central to talks over the legislation for months, and his support for the bill is crucial to its passage in the evenly divided Senate. Over the summer, Manchin convinced Biden and Democratic leaders to scale back their $3.5 trillion initial proposal, setting a $1.75 trillion limit on spending he would be willing to support.
But talks broke down over the past week, particularly over the child tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year. Manchin was pushing for the price tag for the tax credit to span 10 years, which would have constituted the bulk of the spending in the package.
Last week, Biden sounded confident he could craft a deal with Manchin that would satisfy congressional Democrats. “It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote,” the president said in a statement last Thursday.
Manchin’s withdrawal of support is a blow to progressive Democrats, who agreed to pass Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan earlier in the fall with the expectation that Manchin would back the Build Back Better Act.