Kamala Harris on Manchin and Build Back Better: “Let’s get the job done”
Vice President Kamala Harris rejected the idea that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin had betrayed the White House when he said that he would not support President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending plan, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the bill.
“I think the stakes are too high for this to be in any way about any specific individual,” Harris said Monday in an interview with Margaret Brennan, chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News and moderator of “Face the Nation.”
“I don’t have any personal feelings about this. This is about – let’s get the job done. Let’s get it done.” Brennan noted that one of the key provisions in the bill, the year-long extension of the Child Tax Credit has already expired. Harris insisted, “We have to extend it,” but on the question of how to do that without Manchin’s support, the vice president said, “You don’t give up. That’s how we do it. We don’t give up. That’s how.”
Manchin backed out of negotiations with the White House on Sunday, citing inflation, the national debt and the COVID-19 pandemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the West Virginia senator’s remarks represented “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.”
By Monday, Manchin was fuming. He told West Virginia’s “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval” that Democrats had erred in thinking they could pressure him into backing the social spending package and blamed White House staff for the collapse in negotiations, saying “they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable.”
“They figured, surely to God we can move one person, surely we can badger and beat one person up, surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough they’ll just say, ‘OK, I’ll vote for anything,’ just quit,” he said.