Joe Manchin Says He 'Just Can't' Vote for Biden's Build Back Better Act: 'I Tried'

Senator Joe Manchin said on Sunday he "just can't" vote for the President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill.

The Build Back Better bill, which passed the House of Representatives in November, offered sweeping funding to social and climate programs.

Democratic leaders sought to get Manchin, a moderate Democrat representing West Virginia, to support the bill. But on Sunday, he announced he would not vote in its support while appearing on Fox News Sunday.

"If I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation," Manchin said. "I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there."

He pointed to inflation, the Omicron variant and national debt as reasons why he believes he cannot support the bill.

"Where I'm at right now, the inflation I was concerned about—it's not transitory. It's real. It's harming every West Virginian," he said.

Without the support of Manchin, it remains unclear how Democrats could pass the legislation, as no Republicans have signaled support for it.

In total, the $1.75 trillion legislation would have funded several programs—allocating $555 billion to clean energy, $400 billion for child care, $150 billion for safe housing and $150 billion for home-based care. It included funding for universal preschool and a measure to reduce prescription drug costs and expand Medicare and Medicaid.

Manchin's announcement follows months of debate among Democrats about what should be included in the bill, how long the programs should last and how much the bill should cost. Manchin and other moderates significantly reduced the total cost of the bill from the $3.5 trillion proposed by Biden.

Other Democrats previously criticized Manchin amid negotiations. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who caucuses with Democrats, said last week that he and Senator Kyrsten Sinema were "kind of acting like Republicans."

Sanders said Sunday following Manchin's remarks: "I think he's going to have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia."

"I hope that we will bring a strong bill to the floor of the Senate as soon as we can and let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn't have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests," Sanders said on CNN.

Progressives initially wanted to pass the Build Back Better bill alongside a bipartisan infrastructure bill Biden signed into law in November, but moderates pushed for that bill to be passed first. Some progressives at the time voiced concerns that if the two bills were not passed in tandem, Build Back Better would not pass the Senate.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have not supported the bill, citing its price tag in their opposition. Many tweeted their support of Manchin on Sunday for not backing the bill.

Joe Manchin No Build Back Better
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, above, said on Sunday that he would not vote for the Build Back Better bill in a blow to President Joe Biden and progressives in Congress. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)