Nancy Pelosi Hints at Plan to Pass Build Back Better—'Barnstorming' Families

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed hope about passing the Build Back Better Act "as soon as possible next year" in a Sunday statement after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced he would not support to bill.

"While it is disappointing that we may not have a law by the end of the year, we are hopeful that we will soon reach agreement so that this vital legislation can pass as soon as possible next year," the statement read, without naming Manchin.

"For weeks, we have had House-Senate-White House agreement on the fundamental framework of Build Back Better," Pelosi continued.

"We have always tried to prioritize the most critical provisions when crafting this legislation: extending the Biden Child Tax Credit, investing in family care, securing universal pre-K and child care, expanding home health care, strengthening the Affordable Care Act and taking historic steps to combat the climate crisis, which are not only necessary but urgent."

Pelosi continued: "This winter, we continue to battle the COVID pandemic. The daunting Omicron variant poses a threat to Americans' health and financial security. Now more than ever, families need the support of Build Back Better."

The statement went on to praise members of Congress who have "hosted hundreds of events in their districts, bringing the good news of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across the country." Democratic Representatives Matt Cartwright, Debbie Dingell, Ted Lieu and Joe Neguse—who co-chair the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee—were named "for their important work in coordinating this effort."

"It is imperative that American families know how this once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure will improve their lives," Pelosi continued. "I urge all of our Members to join in barnstorming the nation in the weeks ahead."

Manchin, who represents West Virginia, declared his opposition to the $1.75 trillion bill during a Fox News appearance on Sunday, effectively torpedoing President Joe Biden's key initiative.

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

While the House passed the Build Back Better Act in November, the Democrats' slight majority in the Senate renders all their 50 votes crucial. Manchin's announcement was praised by Republicans but slammed by progressives, as well as soured his relationship with the White House.

In a statement released Sunday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Manchin's comments to Fox News were "at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances."

Psaki said Manchin "committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework" and "pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework 'in good faith.'"

After visiting the White House on Tuesday to submit an outline for the bill to the president himself, the statement said, Machin "promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground."

"If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator's colleagues in the House and Senate," Psaki said.

"Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on December 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. In a statement on Sunday, she expressed hope about passing the Build Back Better Act "as soon as possible next year." Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images