Ilhan Omar Blasts Joe Manchin 'Bulls***' Reasons for Blocking Build Back Better

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has slammed Senator Joe Manchin's (D-WV) reasons for opposing President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act as "bulls***."

During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, host Ali Velshi asked Omar on her thoughts about Manchin's announcement.

"I mean, we all knew that Senator Manchin couldn't be trusted, the excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bulls***," Omar said. "It is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of West Virginia because thats a complete lie."

"The people of West Virginia would greatly benefit from their families having access to long-term elderly care and care for folks with disabilities, they would benefit from the expansion of the child tax credits, they will benefit from having access to pre-K," she continued.

"There are just so many things that the people of West Virginia desperately need, and we know that he is not working on behalf of their interest, and I really am just completely disappointed and disgusted by his reasoning."

Omar also took her dismay with Manchin's comments to Twitter.

"West Virginia is 50th in public health/50th in childcare/48th in employment," she tweeted. "They support Build Back Better by a 43 point margin."

"This has nothing to do with his constituents. This is about the corruption and self-interest of a coal baron."

The tweet referenced Manchin's financial stakes in energy industries. The West Virginia Democrat founded Enersystems, a private coal brokerage, in 1988. While his son now runs the company, the senator maintains shares that are worth between $1 million and $5 million, according to financial disclosure documents.

The Build Back Better Act is a $1.75 trillion initiative that seeks to lower costs related to healthcare and childcare, as well as tackle climate change. The House passed the bill in November, but Manchin's opposition in the Senate would effectively render it dead.

Omar's comments came amid a flurry of progressives' critical comments towards Manchin's decision not to support the bill.

In a Sunday appearance on CNN, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) rebuked Manchin's rejection of the bill based on exorbitant costs.

"Joe Manchin voted for a huge increase in military spending," Sanders said, "Manchin voted for an infrastructure bill which added $250 billion to the deficit."

"The truth of the matter is, that if you look at the military budget—$770 billion—times that by 10 years, it is four times higher than what the Build Back Better plan is."

"Now, Mr. Manchin says he's representing the people of West Virginia," he continued. "OK, why don't you do a poll?

"And you ask the people of West Virginia whether or not they want to lower the cost of prescription drugs. You ask them whether they want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eyeglasses.

"You ask them whether they want to continue that $300 payment to help working parents in these very difficult times, bring up their kids with dignity. Ask them if they want to deal with climate change. On all of those issues, I suspect people of West Virginia, like every other state in this country, will say, 'Yes, do the right thing for working families.'"

Sanders said he told Manchin he would "pay for the damn poll in West Virginia on those issues, see how the people of West Virginia feel."

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has urged the Senate to vote on the Build Back Better so Manchin and Republicans who are against the bill oppose it "on the record."

"The Senate must return to session immediately and bring this historic and transformational bill to a vote so Senator Manchin—and every Republican who has opposed it from the very beginning—can demonstrate, on the record, the contempt they have for their constituents and for everyone who calls America home," she said, in a statement seconded by colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

"This fight is not over and I will not stop pushing until we have secured President Biden's full Build Back Better agenda," Pressley added.

The White House said Manchin's statements were "at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances."

In his Sunday interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, Manchin announced he "cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation."

"You have the debt that we're carrying at $29 trillion, you have also the geopolitical unrest that we have, you have the COVID, the COVID variant, and that is wreaking havoc again," he said.

"I know everyone's concerned, so when you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I've always said this, Bret," Manchin continued. "If I can't go home to explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it."

Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks outside the Capitol
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. Omar slammed Senator Joe Manchin's (D-WV) reasons for opposing President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts