Pressley slams Manchin after he says he will vote no on Build Back Better
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) slammed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) on Sunday after he announced that he will not support the Democrats’ social spending and climate bill, accusing him of “obstructing” President Biden’s agenda.
“He has continued to move the goalposts, he has never negotiated in good faith. And he is obstructing the President’s agenda. Eighty-five percent of which is still left on the table. And in obstructing the president’s agenda, he is obstructing the people’s agenda,” Pressley told co-host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Manchin announced earlier on Sunday that he would not vote for the party’s spending package, known as the Build Back Better Act, effectively killing the massive legislation that is central to Biden’s agenda. The party was looking to approve the bill through budget reconciliation, meaning all 50 Democrats would have to be on board for it to pass.
The centrist Democrat, in a statement detailing his decision to vote against the bill, pointed to rising prices, inflation, dependence on foreign supply chains and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pressley, however, said “the most responsible thing” the U.S. can do amid rising inflation “is to pass the Build Back Better Act.”
“We cannot allow one lone senator from West Virginia to obstruct the president’s agenda, to obstruct the people’s agenda. Jake, all I want for Christmas is a senator that has compassion for the American people and not contempt,” she added.
Pressley was one of the six progressive lawmakers who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill in November to show their opposition to moving forward with the legislation without also passing the social spending and climate package.
Biden and party leaders promised that the larger bill would be passed at a later date, reversing previous vows to approve the two measures at the same time.
The Massachusetts Democrat on Sunday said her “lack and deficit of trust” in November was “about Sen. Manchin.”
She later said she had “great concerns” about “decoupling” the bills, adding that she “take[s] no joy in those fears playing out in real time.”
“That by decoupling these bills that we would cede all of our leverage, and that has everything to do with my credible concerns based on lived experience with Sen. Manchin changing the goalposts continually,” she said.
Pressed by Tapper on if she thought Biden broke his promise when saying the Build Back Better Act would eventually pass, Pressley turned up the heat on Manchin.
“This is about Joe Manchin obstructing the president’s agenda, obstructing the people’s agenda, you know, torpedoing our opportunity to advance unprecedented advancements to address the hurt that this pandemic-induced recession has caused and to get this pandemic under control,” Pressley said.
“So if he’s serious about inflation, if he’s serious about the pandemic, if he’s serious about child poverty, then we need to advance the Build Back Better Act so that we can in fact build back better,” she added.
Pressley said she would still like to see the Senate take up the Build Back Better Act for a vote, which is the same sentiment expressed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-N.Y.) in an interview minutes before.