President Joe Biden laughed off a suggestion that he invite senators Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin to the White House to ‘hash it out’ as the pair feud over the Democrats’ stalled $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
Biden, 78, spoke to reporters on the South Lawn on Friday when one asked the president if he thought the Senators would reconcile their difference.
The reporter asked: ‘Mr. President, can Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Joe Manchin ever reconcile their differences on your agenda?’
The president laughed, but did not provide an answer.
When she suggested he ‘get them together and hash it out this weekend,’ the president laughed again before sarcastically replying: ‘No problem! I can do that. Not a problem.’
Last week, when Representative Ro Khanna suggested the President have a private conference call between the two, Biden said it would be like ‘homicide.’
Moderate Manchin and fellow Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have refused to rubber-stamp Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan because of its exorbitant price tag.
Progressive Sanders went head-to-head with West Virginia senator Manchin by publishing an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, expressing his support for Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
‘The $3.5trillion Build Back Better bill, supported by President Biden and almost all Democrats in Congress, is an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes,’ Sanders wrote.
President Joe Biden, 78, laughed off reporter’s suggestion he invite Senators Bernie Sanders, 80, and Joe Manchin, 74, to the White House to ‘hash it out’ after they came to explosive terms today over the President’s infrastructure plans. He responded: ‘No problem! I can do that. Not a problem’
Manchin immediately issued a stinging rebuke, taking to social media to condemn Sanders and accuse the twice-failed presidential candidate of having no idea of what was best for West Virginians.
‘This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state,’ Manchin wrote.
‘Millions of jobs are open, supply chains are strained and unavoidable inflation taxes are draining workers’ hard-earned wages as the price of gasoline and groceries continues to climb,’ he added.
He reprimanded Sanders for wanting to ‘throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other Senators have grave concerns about this approach.’
‘Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs,’ he wrote. ‘No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.’
The President spoke to reporters on the South Lawn on Friday
Sanders (pictured) and Manchin went head-to-head over Biden’s $3.5trillion plan after Sanders published an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail
Sanders wrote an op-ed in West Virginia’s biggest newspaper that voters should support a $3.5trillion infrastructure bill
Manchin, who as a moderate in a Senate split 50-50 wields immense power, has proposed holding the measure’s overall 10-year cost to $1.5 trillion and has said he wants to limit some health care initiatives to benefit only lower-earning people.
A critical piece of President Joe Biden’s climate agenda could be struck because of Manchin. the plan which would replace coal and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy, will likely be dropped from the budget bill pending in Congress due to the Senator’s opposition.
White House staffers are revising the Clean Electricity Performance Program legislation due to strong opposition from Senator Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia whose vote is crucial to its passage, the newspaper said.
Machin wants to reshape the Clean Electricity Performance Program – a $150billion program that would reward those who use clean energy and fine those who don’t – to make it so that burning fossil fuels would not be eliminated.
Manchin has personal ties to the coal industry and earned half-a-million dollars from its production last year, according to The New York Times.
Machin’s state is the second-largest in coal production and the seventh in natural gas in the country. He received more donations from oil, coal and gas industries than any other senator in his last campaign and personally profits between $1 to $5million from his Enersystems Inc stock – a coal brokerage company he founded in 1988.
He made $491,949 from his share last year in the company that his son has run since 2000, The New York Times reported.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, 74, has stubbornly refused to support the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan and said Sanders could not sway him as he condemned Sanders’ ‘out of stater’ intervention
He mentioned that other ‘Senators have grave concerns about this approach’ too. Manchin is a huge piece in passing the plan, which he has already he would not support the climate change portion of the plan, due to the elimination of coal production in favor of clean energy
Sanders’s op-ed titled Let’s Stand Together To Protect Working Families, highlighted the wealth disparities in the U.S. and claimed the Build Back Better plan would help shrink the gap.
He pointed out how the bill could help West Virginians with lower prices for prescription drugs, expanding Medicare, and improving childcare.
‘The United States, and states like West Virginia and Vermont in particular, are seeing their populations age,’ he said.
‘This bill greatly expands home health care and makes sure that these jobs are adequately paid.’
Sander concluded: ‘This is a pivotal moment in modern American history. We now have a historic opportunity to support the working families of West Virginia, Vermont and the entire country and create policy which works for all, not just the few.’
Biden said on Friday that he does not think the $3.5 trillion plan will be passed, and a slimmed-down version will prevail.
Yet, although he expects the package to shrink, he said during a visit to Connecticut that he would top up the legislation after it was passed.
The Build Back Better bill ‘is an ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families – all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share,’ according to the White House.
It focuses on lowers cost for child care, higher education, prescription drugs, health care, and housing, cutting taxes for families with children and workers without children, and creating jobs with workforce training, clean energy jobs, and investing in teachers and schools.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to reduce the sweeping package to about $2 trillion in spending, which would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
The proposal includes everything from free child care and community college to dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors and a number of significant provisions meant to combat climate change.
When asked if he thought the talks would come to close this week, the President said he was ‘pushing hard’ to get it ‘moving as quickly’ as possible.