West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is taking more of a beating from fellow Democrats on Monday, with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin accusing the centrist of letting the party’s budget talks “drag” for months before speaking out against more of theirs expresses the most important measures.
Conservative democrat Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he could not support the reconciliation bill climate change Provisions late last week. He killed a $1.75 trillion version of the spending package during a Fox News interview last December — and dealt the president an embarrassing blow Joe Biden‘s agenda.
“My biggest frustration is that I think Joe should have made his position clearer a hell of a long time ago,” said Durbin, Schumer’s number two.
The Illinois Democrat raged CNN that Manchin “let this thing drag on for six or seven months this year” before voicing his opposition.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had tougher words for Manchin during an interview with ABC News on Sunday, accusing him of “deliberately sabotaging” the president’s agenda.
Asked about the self-proclaimed democratic socialist’s fiery remarks and similar sentiments from other progressives, Manchin insisted he didn’t “take it personally”.
“I’ve been at it for a long time. People sometimes say things they might not mean and I don’t take that personally. I only have one personal thing — my family,” Manchin also told CNN.
Senate majority-whip Dick Durbin (right) is the latest Democrat to publicly express frustration at West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s (left) abrupt opposition to key proposals in ongoing budget talks
Manchin’s reversal of climate change proposals, which he had previously hinted at, potential openness to a new round of attacks from progressives in his party, including calls to remove him from chairing the Senate Energy Committee.
Durbin reportedly spurned those calls, while Manchin indicated he would not back down from his role.
“I understand their frustration and concern,” Manchin said. “It’s a democracy, I come from another country – but we have to have energy.”
And on Sunday, Sanders clashed with ABC News This Week host Martha Raddatz when she dared to address Manchin’s “abrupt” opposition to Biden’s climate change Dimensions.
“He didn’t do anything suddenly,” Sanders yelled over Raddatz’s attempt to ask about the conservative democrat. “He sabotaged the President’s agenda.”
He accused Manchin and fellow conservative Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona of “deliberately” going against “what the American people want.”
Sanders also wrote off Manchin’s concerns about the impact of a spending package on rising inflation as “nonsense”.
The country’s shift away from fossil fuels and cutting carbon emissions, particularly in the face of the worsening effects of climate change, has been a cornerstone of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attacked fellow Manchin during a fiery interview with ABC News on Sunday
But after months of high-level negotiations, Manchin torpedoed Democrats’ chances of passing Biden’s climate agenda in Congress Thursday.
The 50-50 split in the Senate means virtually every Democrat must vote in lockstep to pass a majority of Biden’s more progressive agenda items. It has also given Manchin and Sinema an outsized impact on their party.
“Six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin — to a lesser extent Sinema — who are deliberately sabotaging the President’s agenda, which is what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic Group want,” Sanders said .
‘Nothing new about it. And the problem was that we kept talking to Manchin like he meant business. He was not’
The Manchin and Sinema opposition were responsible for quashing Democrat attempts to codify voting rights and abortion protections and passing Biden’s ambitious spending plan known as Build Back Better.
Manchin, who slammed climate legislation on Thursday, sparked a wave of criticism from his Democrats – including an irate Sanders.
“This is a guy who’s a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who’s received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” the Vermont senator said.
Sanders dismissed Manchin’s statement that he was acting out the will of West Virginians and responding to the rising cost of consumer goods – which rose an average of 9.1 percent in June from a year earlier.
It was “the same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year,” the progressive lawmaker said.
“West Virginia – it’s a beautiful state and I’ve had the pleasure of being there. Nice people. It is one of the poorest states in this country.”
US inflation rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and better than economists had forecast. Sanders dismissed Manchin’s inflation concerns as “nonsense.”
He insisted his residents would benefit from provisions like expanded Medicare and higher taxes for the ultra-wealthy and big corporations.
“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 said.
“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”
And Sanders warned that Manchin’s opposition to climate change proposals will have implications for the “future of the planet.”
“So if Manchin is sabotaging climate change, that’s future generations what’s happening right now. In the West, around the world, we’re seeing a lot more – more and more heat waves. You should expect more flooding. This is an existential threat to humanity,” he explained.
Sanders’ closing message was a public call for voters to vote “more progressive Democrats” in future elections — another veiled smack at the South-Central.
The President pledged last week to take “strong” action to slow the effects of climate change following Manchin’s about-face.
“If the Senate does nothing to address the climate crisis and bolster our homegrown clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet that moment,” Biden said in a statement.