Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, seemingly dealing a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.
Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he always has made clear he had reservations about the bill and that now, after five-and-half months of discussions and negotiations, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”
The White House had no immediate comment. Biden was spending the weekend in Wilmington, Delaware.
The legislation’s apparent collapse is sure to deepen the bitter ideological divisions within the Democratic Party between progressives and moderates. That would call into question whether Democrats will be able to join together behind any substantial legislation before the November congressional elections. And it adds a note of chaos just as Democrats need to demonstrate accomplishments and show a united front before the fall campaign.
The bill carries huge investments for helping millions of families with children, including extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There’s assistance to help people pay health care costs, new hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and provisions limiting price increases on prescription drugs.