Joe Manchin's Vote on Biden's Social Bill 'Not at All' Influenced by Passage in House

Senator Joe Manchin won't commit to advancing the Build Back Better bill even if it passes in the House of Representatives.

Manchin told CNN correspondent Manu Raju on Thursday that he hasn't decided whether he will vote to bring the the sweeping social safety net package to the Senate floor and start debate.

When asked if the lower chamber's passage of the bill would "influence" his decision, Manchin responded: "No, not at all."

House Democrats are expected to vote on and pass President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion bill this week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that "those votes hopefully will take place later this afternoon."

The act would expand federal benefits for millions by providing funds for child-care assistance, a one-year extension of the child tax credit, universal pre-K and expanding Medicare to cover hearing services. It also includes roughly $500 billion to combat climate change, largely through clean energy initiatives.

The Senate aims to pass the social spending bill by the end of the year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Tuesday. Though Capitol Hill has missed much of their self-imposed deadlines for the legislation.

"Build Back Better is very important to America, we believe it's very popular with Americans, we aim to pass it before Christmas," the New York Democrat said.

Manchin is a critical vote as Democrats seek to pass the package via reconciliation, a legislative process that allows them to bypass the Senate filibuster. Democrats need all 50 of their caucus members to back the bill in order for it to be approved.

The moderate has been critical of the legislation amid months-long negotiations on the text.

He's publicly opposed provisions such as paid family leave, Clean Energy Performance Program and federal tax credits for union-made electric vehicles.

Manchin has also raised concerns about the legislation's impact on the national debt and inflation as consumer prices for food and gas rise across the country.

The senator said he will not support a package that "irresponsibly" adds to the debt or that "risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation."

The White House has argued that the bill will actually reduce inflation and help cut costs for the American people. The administration has repeatedly touted a letter from more than a dozen Nobel Prize-winning economists who said that the inflationary effects of the bill would be "negligible" over the medium term.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to publish a complete cost estimate for the plan on Friday. Many centrists in the House have been waiting for the CBO score to help inform their vote.

Manchin said the CBO's report could affect his decision.

"So to be fair for everybody, let's see what the score is, let's see exactly what they're intending to do," Manchin told reporters on Tuesday.

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for additional comment but didn't receive a response before publication.

Manchin Not Influenced By House Passage BBB
Senator Joe Manchin said that House passage of the Build Back Better bill won't influence his decision on the legislation. In this photo, Manchin talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 1. Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla