JULY 17, 2022
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday pulled no punches when attacking Sen. Joe Manchin, accusing him of “intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda” and blocking “what the American people want.”
Manchin this week announced his refusal to support two major provisions in President Biden’s economic package: tax increases on the rich and spending on initiatives to stave off climate change. It likely marked the nail in the coffin for Biden’s and Democrats’ vision of a transformative economic package — a vision that the party has continually revised and pared back in a failed bid to win Manchin’s support.
Sanders was so mad, he opted not wait for journalist Martha Raddatz to finish her question, balking at the framing.
“Sen. Joe Manchin, of course, abruptly pulled the plug this week on the Democrats’ plans to pass,” Raddatz began.
“No, Martha. Let me respectfully disagree. He didn’t abruptly do anything,” Sanders interjected during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week. “He has sabotaged the president’s agenda. … Six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin — [and] Sinema, to a lesser degree — who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about this.”
Sanders added, “The problem was that we continued to talk to Manchin like he was serious; he was not. This is a guy who’s a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires.”
Sen. Joe Manchin is “intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tells @MarthaRaddatz.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 17, 2022
“You say he wasn’t serious,” Raddatz said in response. “Manchin says his main goal is to do what’s good for West Virginia, and he’s worried about inflation.”
“Really? Really?” the Vermont senator replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Is that right?”
Responding to a Manchin quote about inflation and how it affects his West Virginia constituents, Sanders argued that it’s “the same nonsense Manchin has been talking about for a year” and pointed out that Manchin’s state is one of the poorest in the nation. “You ask the people of West Virginia whether they want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and eyeglasses. You ask the people of West Virginia whether we should demand that the wealthiest people and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes. Ask the people of West Virginia whether or not all people should have health care as a human right like in every other country on Earth. That’s what they will say.”
He concluded, “In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”
“We need more progressive Democrats who are going to fight for workers,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tells @MarthaRaddatz after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin rejects Pres. Biden’s agenda on climate change and tax reform. https://t.co/NTK6xMryTp pic.twitter.com/m6Hx1UPg29
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 17, 2022
This is far from the first time Manchin has torpedoed Biden’s legislative hopes. He opposed an earlier version of Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which included proposals to lower health care costs and expand access, fix immigration, assist families with child care costs, and attempt to address climate change. Manchin’s reluctance to act on climate — despite his recent public claims to the contrary — is fueled by his deeply vested interest in oil and coal. Manchin has fought for years to keep open his state’s dirtiest coal plant while reaping the profits at great expense to his constituents, Jeff Goodell reported for Rolling Stone. “Joe Manchin will absolutely throw humanity under the coal train without blinking an eye,” Maria Gunnoe, director of the Mother Jones Community Foundation and a longtime West Virginia activist, told Goodell. “My friends and I have a joke about his kind: They’d mine their momma’s grave for a buck.”