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Manchin tanked Biden's spending bill as payback for a White House statement he thought was rude to him, ally suggests

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/21/2021 tcolson@businessinsider.com (Thomas Colson)
Sen. Joe Manchin talks with reporters in the US Capitol on Wednesday. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin talks with reporters in the US Capitol on Wednesday. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Sen. Joe Manchin tanked President Biden's spending plans in a stunning reversal on Sunday.
  • In a Fox News appearance, Manchin said he objected to the size of the $1.75 trillion package.
  • But a Manchin ally said he was also driven by a White House statement he felt was rude about him.

An ally of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he decided to tank President Joe Biden's spending plan in response to a White House statement he felt was rude to him.

"I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there," Manchin told Fox News on Sunday when he announced he would not support the bill.

He cited policy reasons rather than anything personal.

But according to Steve Clemons, a Washington journalist who The New York Times said was close to Manchin, something else was afoot.

Biden on Thursday had released a statement singling out Manchin as a reason his Build Back Better spending package had not yet been passed.

Clemons said that Manchin was furious to read the statement, feeling it put too much blame on him.

Biden and Manchin "were pulling in the same direction" in negotiations over the legislation, Clemons wrote in The Hill, until the Thursday statement was released. 


Video: Democratic Agenda in Limbo (Bloomberg)

"But then – bang! – the White House released a statement blaming Manchin for the delay," he wrote.

"It tried to strike a positive tone about the future, but it targeted Manchin specifically and alone."

Clemons added later: "I know Manchin. He believes in civility above all things."

By Friday, Manchin had scheduled the appearance on "Fox News Sunday," where he would make the bombshell announcement that he would not support the legislation, The New York Times reported.

Insider asked Manchin's office whether the statement specifically had prompted him to schedule the appearance on Fox News but did not receive an immediate reply.

Manchin on Monday sought to blame leaks from unnamed White House staff for his decision to stop negotiating over the bill. He declined to blame Biden himself.

The senator had reacted angrily after reports, based on leaked conversations last week, suggested he did not support the child tax credit as it stood in the bill.

"The bottom line is, there was basically — and it's staff. It's staff-driven. I understand staff. This is not the president. This is the staff," Manchin told a West Virginia radio station.

"And they drove some things, and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. They know what it is, and that's it."

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