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Sen. Manchin says AOC’s claim he has weekly huddles with Exxon execs is totally false


Senator Joe Manchin has fired back at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling her claims that he has ‘weekly huddles’ with Exxon executives ‘totally false.’ 

Manchin appeared on CNN‘s State of the Union on Sunday to explain his concerns with President Joe Biden‘s $3.5 trillion plan for social and environmental spending, saying he won’t support even half that amount.

After Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat whose vote is crucial in the evenly divided Senate, first aired his concerns in an op-ed last week, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter claiming that her fellow Democrat was ‘killing people’ with his objections.

‘Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called ‘bipartisan’ fossil fuel bills,’ the New York Democrat wrote. ‘Sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.’

Manchin fired back at the firebrand progressive when CNN host Dana Bash asked him about her claims, saying: ‘I keep my door open for everybody. That’s totally false.’

‘Those type of superlatives, it’s just awful. And continue to divide, divide divide,’ Manchin said.

Senator Joe Manchin has fired back at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling her claims that he has ‘weekly huddles’ with Exxon executives ‘totally false’

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter claiming that her fellow Democrat was 'killing people' with his objections to Biden's social and environmental spending plan

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter claiming that her fellow Democrat was ‘killing people’ with his objections to Biden’s social and environmental spending plan

‘I don’t know that young lady that well, I really don’t. I met her one time between sets here, but that’s it. We’ve not had any conversations. She’s speculating and saying things,’ Manchin said.

Pressed on whether he opposes Biden’s spending plan because of donor influence, Manchin fired back: ‘I’m opposed to it because it makes not sense at all.’ 

Manchin’s support is crucial for Democrats if they want to enact Biden´s massive ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, with the Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaker if there is no Republican support. 

With congressional committees working toward the target of Wednesday set by party leaders to have the bill drafted, Manchin made clear his view, in a series of television interviews, that there was ‘no way’ Congress would meet the late September goal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for passage.

But the moderate Democrat continues to snub his party’s plan to not pass a separate infrastructure package without the progressive reconciliation package.

‘No, I could not support $3.5 trillion,’ Manchin told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin doubled-down on Sunday saying he won't back his party's $3.5 trillion reconciliation package as progressives say they won't vote through the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill without its passage

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin doubled-down on Sunday saying he won’t back his party’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package as progressives say they won’t vote through the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill without its passage

‘If I was writing it from scratch, I’d be looking at, first of all, adjusting the tax code,’ Manchin continued. ‘I’ve always said that. I said basically the 2017 tax code was weighted unfairly to the wealthy. We need to change that. That’s why I agreed to go to reconciliation.’

‘But I’m not going to go to a situation or shoot myself in the foot and not be competitive globally. I think the corporations should be paying. There shouldn’t be anyone escaping not paying their fair share. I think the IRS should be able to do its job, all of those things,’ he added.

‘I cannot support $3.5 trillion,’ Manchin said, citing in particular his opposition to a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and vast new social spending.

‘We should be looking at everything, and we´re not. We don´t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there´s some deadline we´re meeting, or someone´s going to fall through the cracks,’ he said.

Pressed repeatedly about a total he could support, Manchin said, ‘It’s going to be $1, $1.5 (trillion).’ He later suggested the range was based on a modest rise in the corporate tax rate to 25%, a figure he believes will keep the U.S. globally competitive.

‘The numbers that they´re wanting to pay for and the tax changes they want to make, is that competitive?’ Manchin asked. ‘I believe there´s some changes made that does not keep us competitive.’

But Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is developing the budget bill, noted that he and other members of the liberal flank in Congress had initially urged an even more robust package of $6 trillion.

'I don´t think it's acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,' Senator Bernie Sander said

‘I don´t think it’s acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,’ Senator Bernie Sander said

‘I don´t think it’s acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,’ Sanders said. 

He added: ‘I believe we´re going to all sit down and work together and come up with a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill which deals with the enormously unmet needs of working families.’

The current blueprint proposes billions for rebuilding infrastructure, tackling climate change and expanding or introducing a range of services, from free prekindergarten to dental, vision and hearing aid care for seniors.

Manchin voted last month to approve a budget resolution that set the figure, though he and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, have expressed reservations about the topline amount. All of it would be paid for with taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Congressional committees have been working hard this month on slices of the 10-year proposal in a bid to meet this week’s timeline from Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to have the bill drafted. 

Pelosi is seeking a House vote by Oct. 1, near the Sept. 27 target for voting on a slimmer infrastructure plan favored by moderates.

Manchin, who in an op-ed earlier this month urged a ‘strategic pause’ on the legislation to reconsider the cost, described the timing as unrealistic. 

He has urged Congress to act first on a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate. 

But liberal House Democrats have threatened to withhold their support for the infrastructure bill until the $3.5 trillion spending bill is passed alongside it.

Neither side on Sunday revealed how they hoped to quickly bridge the divide among Democrats.

‘There’s no way we can get this done by the 27th, if we do our job,’ Manchin said. ‘There’s so much differences that we have here and so much – there´s so much apart from us where we are. … I’m working with people. I’m willing to talk to people. It makes no sense at all.’

Manchin spoke on CNN´s State of the Union, NBC´s Meet the Press and ABC´s This Week. Sanders was on CNN and ABC. 



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