United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin withheld support for President Joe Biden's $2 trillion social and environment bill through statements released on Sunday.
CBN News reported that Manchin expressed opposition to the bill, through an interview with "Fox News Sunday," that is consistent to his stand on it throughout "five-and-half months of discussions and negotiations" on it.
"This is a no. I have tried everything I know to do," Manchin told Fox News.
"For five and a half months, I have worked as diligently as possible meeting with President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues on every end of the political spectrum to determine the best path forward despite my serious reservations. I have made my concerns clear through public statements, op-eds and private conversations. My concerns have only increased as the pandemic surges on, inflation rises and geopolitical uncertainty increases around the world," Manchin said.
"I have always said, 'If I can't go back home and explain it, I can't vote for it.' Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation," he added.
Manchin pointed out that pushing further with the legislation would only make the nation "vulnerable" and further harm it citing the consequences of inflation. He also put a spotlight on the need for "transparency" on the full cost of the legislation that he said is "camouflaged" by his colleagues in the Democratic Party.
"My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight," Manchin stressed.
"The American people deserve transparency on the true cost of the Build Back Better Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined the cost is upwards of $4.5 trillion which is more than double what the bill's ardent supporters have claimed. They continue to camouflage the real cost of the intent behind this bill," he exposed.
Manchin also raised the uncertainty of the future with the Omicron variant causing a resurging in COVID-19 cases in the country that were first seen during the beginnings of the pandemic alongside the "increasing political uncertainty as tensions rise between Russia and China." He said that the increased debt that the bill will create would only hamper America's quick and effective response to such "pending threats."
In addition, Manchin revealed that the bill will similarly have a negative effect on the country's electric grid and "dependence on foreign supply chains" since the energy transition sought by the Democrats are already in progress due to what he has began as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Manchin cited prior investments in billions of dollars that have already been made to "clean energy technologies" so that the country will lead the world in innovations on emission reduction. He said the pace the Democrats want is faster than what markets and technology allow, such that it will only "have catastrophic consequences for the American people like we have seen in both Texas and California in the last two years."
Manchin reiterated in his statement the warning made by Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that national debt is the greatest threat faced by the nation since it has greatly doubled in this time. Manchin nonetheless expressed his cooperation to address the needs of the American people but not at the risk of the country.
"I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the needs of all Americans and do so in a way that does not risk our nation's independence, security and way of life," Manchin underscored.
Last November, Manchin joined Biden and bipartisan senators in passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which amounted to $1.2 trillion. Biden said this bill along with the Build Back Better Act "spend out over 10 years, not in the first year."