Sen. Bernie Sanders accused Sen. Joe Manchin of “deliberately sabotaging” President Biden’s agenda after the West Virginia Democrat withdrew his support of legislation supporting initiatives to tackle climate change and increase taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals included.
“He sabotaged the President’s agenda,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Sunday “This Week” from ABC News.
“If you review the records six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin, Sinema to a lesser extent, who are deliberately sabotaging the President’s agenda, which is what the American people, what a majority of us in the Democratic Group, want . There’s nothing new about that,” he told host Martha Raddatz, referring to Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
The exchange was prompted after Raddatz said that Manchin, a moderate Democrat, “abruptly pulled the plug” on the party’s attempt to pass the scaled-down Build Back Better Act, which had already stalled for months.
“No, Martha, he didn’t do it ‘abruptly,'” Sanders said of Manchin, whose opposition stymied the original version of Biden’s spending plan in December.
The ABC News host replied that Manchin had been “negotiating for a while”.
At that point, Sanders accused Manchin of thwarting Biden’s legislative agenda.
“And the problem was that we keep talking to Manchin like he means business. He was not. This is a guy who’s a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who’s received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” Sanders said.
Many scurried the Build Back Better Act on Friday, when it told a West Virginia radio station that it could only support the legislation if it lowered drug prices rather than adding new environmental regulations and tax hikes, citing record-breaking inflation figures
“Inflation is absolutely killing many, many people. You can’t buy gasoline. They find it difficult to shop for groceries. Everything they buy and consume for their daily life is a burden for them. Can’t we wait to make sure we don’t add anything to that?” Manchin said West Virginia Metro News.
“I can’t make that decision about taxes of any kind and also about energy and climate – because it takes the taxes to pay for the investment in clean technology that I advocate. I will not do anything and exaggerate, which will cause even more problems,” he said.
On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the annual inflation rate rose to 9.1% in June, the highest since November 1981
Raddatz played the comments Manchin made on the radio show and mentioned that Manchin has said he cares about the people of West Virginia.
“Look, this is the same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” Sanders said, calling West Virginia “one of the poorest states in this country.”
“They are asking the people of West Virginia if they want to expand Medicare to include dental, hearing and eyeglasses. You’re asking the people of West Virginia if we should demand that the wealthiest people and big corporations start paying their fair share of taxes. Ask the people of West Virginia if all people should have health care as a human right like in every other country on earth. That’s what they’re going to say,” Sanders continued
“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America,” he said.