Harris says ‘stakes are too high’ for Build Back Better to be about Manchin

Vice President Harris speaks at a signing ceremony for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday, November 15, 2021.
Greg Nash

Vice President Harris on Monday said the stakes are too high for the Build Back Better agenda to just be about Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who announced his opposition to the measure on Sunday.

“I think the stakes are too high for this to be in any way about any specific individual,” Harris said when asked by CBS News’s Margaret Brennan if Manchin is playing fair with the White House. 

Brennan noted that the Senate is 50-50, evenly divided between the parties, so Manchin’s vote is necessary for Democrats to move forward with the legislation.

“It is. I’m the tiebreaker. I’m the tie vote,” Harris said.

“The stakes are so high. I refuse to get caught up in what might be personal politics,” she added.

The White House blasted Manchin in a statement from press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday after he said he was a “no” vote on the bill. She wrote that Manchin had gone back on commitments to the president.

On Monday, the White House was working to cool temperatures, and Harris told CBS News that she does not feel betrayed by Manchin.

“I don’t have any personal feelings about this. This is about — let’s get the job done. Let’s get it done,” she said.

She expressed her urgency with extending the child tax credit, which is set to expire. 

Manchin said last week that he wanted the enhanced child tax credit to be extended for 10 years if it was to be included in the bill, which would mean senators would have to either cut other programs from the package or find new ways of paying for the additional expense to meet his demands.

But The Washington Post also reported Monday that Manchin offered a proposal to the White House that did not include the child tax credit.

When asked how the White House could extend the tax credit without Manchin, Harris said, “You don’t give up. That’s how we do it. We don’t give up. That’s how.”

Tags Biden agenda Build Back Better Child tax credit Jen Psaki Joe Manchin
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