Joe Biden Avoids Criticism of Joe Manchin, Dodges on Child Tax Credit

President Joe Biden avoided directly criticizing Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) during an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, but wouldn't say if he would agree to remove the expanded child tax credit from the Build Back Better Act.

Biden told World News Tonight's David Muir that he wasn't giving up on the $1.75 trillion infrastructure and social spending bill despite Manchin publicly declaring he's a "no" on the legislation.

Manchin is opposed to an expansion of the enhanced child tax credit that the White House sees as one of Biden's major accomplishments. The child tax credit program will likely end in January if it is not extended.

Muir noted that Biden has met Manchin several times.

"You invited him to your home in Delaware, he came to the White House a week ago. Then he's on Sunday morning cable and says 'I'm a no.' How does that happen? How, how are you not able to close the deal?" he asked.

"Well, look, let's talk about what we have done. We have passed more major legislation than anybody in their first year ever, ever, ever, ever. I haven't, I haven't given up on this. I haven't given up on it," Biden said.

Muir then said Manchin's "main sticking point" appears to be the child tax credit.

"Are you willing to take that out, if it means bringing him on board?" Muir asked.

"Well, look, I want to get as much as I can possibly get done, as much as we can possibly get done, and I still think we'll be able to get a significant amount of what we need to get done, done," Biden replied. "Particularly as the American people figure out what is in this legislation. It's extremely consequential."

The president avoided criticizing Manchin directly at a time when the West Virginia Democrat is crucial in passing legislation through the evenly divided Senate.

However, dodging the question on the child tax credit may be cause for concern for those who have benefited from it and Democrats who favor it. He had defended the measure in remarks on Tuesday.

Biden also highlighted reaction to Manchin's Fox News interview where he said he was a "no" on the Build Back Better Act, in particular Goldman Sachs cutting its GDP forecast.

"Look, when Joe, when Senator Manchin announced he wasn't going to go for the deal, what happened?" Biden said.

"Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms, not liberal organizations, said, 'Whoa, that's bad.' We need this Build Back Better plan to continue the growth rate," the president said.

Joe Biden Speaks Before Signing Bills
US President Joe Biden speaks before signing bills at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 30, 2021. Biden has said he remains hopeful that the Build Back Better Act could still pass. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images