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Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin lost it on a journalist Wednesday following reports that liberal members of his party blamed him for dashing hopes of passing President Biden’s massive climate and social spending package before Christmas over opposition to the child tax credit.
“This is bulls**t. You’re bulls**t,” the West Virginia senator yelled back at HuffPost Politics reporter Arthur Delaney who asked him about reports that the tax credit had become a major hurdle in his talks with Biden at the White House.
“I’m done. I’m done,” Manchin said dismissively as he was peppered with more questions.
“Guys, I’m not negotiating with any of you all. You can ask all the questions you want. Guys, let me go,” Manchin said as he made his way through the basement of the Capitol Building, muttering “God, almighty,” at one point, according to DailyMail.com.
To that point, a source told the outlet: “Manchin has talked with Biden and they are still miles apart.”
Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with the moderate over his continued opposition to the bill’s overall cost; he has said on several occasions that he believes the government is spending too much too quickly after passing multitrillion-dollar packages this year for COVID-19 relief and infrastructure, which he says is contributing to runaway inflation.
And in an evenly-divided Senate with universal Republican opposition, Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) need every Democratic vote to get force the bill through with Vice President Harris serving as the tie-breaker.
Schumer and Biden want to see the legislation passed by Christmas, but reports on Wednesday indicated that the Democratic leaders won’t meet that deadline and that the bill will be pushed back to next year — perhaps to March, according to NBC News.
In speaking to another gaggle of reporters on Wednesday, Manchin denied that he is opposed to the child tax credit, which would help many West Virginia families.
“I’m not opposed to child tax credit, I’ve never been opposed to child tax credit,” he said.
“Senator Manchin is not telling President Biden what to include or not include. He has always been supportive of the” child tax credit, the source told DailyMail.com.
However, the cost of extending the credit for 10 years, which is called for under Biden’s Build Back Better bill, is around $1.4 trillion, and Manchin has said in the past he is fearful that the provision, as well as many others in the legislation, will eventually become permanent.
In remarks to The Hill, several Democratic senators expressed rising frustration with Manchin.
“Some Democrats, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairwoman Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), want Schumer to schedule a vote on Build Back Better before Christmas,” The Hill noted, adding that Schumer isn’t likely to do that if the measure won’t pass.
And it won’t without Manchin’s vote or, for that matter, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (Ariz.) vote; she, too, has objected to the cost of the bill.
On the chamber floor Wednesday, Schumer vowed that Democrats would “continue working on getting the Senate into a position where we can vote on the President’s Build Back Better legislation.”
However, he said, “If we can’t make too much progress, we will need to stay and hold votes on nominees this weekend and next week until we do.”
NBC News noted that other Democrats are pressing Schumer to focus instead on a major voting reform measure that Republicans oppose because they say would override state-imposed ballot integrity protections.
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