Manchin: I was ‘ostracized,’ ‘victimized’ after nuking BBB

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in an interview on Thursday that he was “ostracized” and “victimized” after he poured cold water late last year on Democrats’ efforts to pass their major climate and social spending bill, the Build Back Better Act. 

In a radio interview with West Virginia’s “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval,” the centrist Democrat called the legislation “a bad bill for our economy,” comments that come a day after he reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on climate, taxes and health.

Manchin said he believed this deal, which is anticipated to be a part of a budget reconciliation package, should not draw concern from Republicans and touted several ways it would generate revenue, including through a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent.

“I knew no matter what we do, if we could do some good now and have an energy policy that worked and do all this too without raising taxes, truly not raising taxes and not adding to inflation, and I’m gonna walk away from that because I think it’s going to harm me politically?” Manchin said.

“Then, I’m the wrong person to be where I’m at.”

Manchin said President Biden was not involved in the deal that he negotiated with Schumer and said at one point he worried it “could have absolutely gone sideways.”

While Democrats have renewed enthusiasm over hopes of passing major priorities like climate measures given Schumer’s and Manchin’s surprise announcement of the deal on Wednesday, the timing of when legislation could be voted on amid a looming August recess is uncertain.

Several Senate Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including Manchin and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.). All 50 Senate Democrats need to be present in order to pass the legislation through reconciliation.