- President Joe Biden and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin spoke on Sunday night.
- This was likely the duo’s first conversation after Manchin tanked the Build Back Better bill.
- Politico reported that the conversation was cordial, and signaled talks would continue after the New Year.
President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin spoke over the phone on Sunday night, in what was likely their first conversation after Manchin essentially tanked the president’s landmark Build Back Better social and climate spending legislation, Politico reported.
The outlet reported that the call took place on Sunday night, citing three people familiar with the call. The conversation was cordial and indicated that talks would continue around the Build Back Better Act after the holiday season, per Politico.
Manchin, who was previously noncommittal on whether or not he would vote for a version of Build Back Better he could swallow, made a definitive statement this weekend in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, saying no to the bill.
“If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it,” he said on Fox, effectively killing a large part of the Biden administration’s agenda. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”
Manchin’s public stand on Build Back Better prompted a swift rebuttal from the White House, which slammed the senator for making “a sudden and inexplicable reversal” and torpedoing Biden’s social spending bill.
Reports have since filtered out of DC that Manchin rejected calls from the White House before going on Fox News and that he sent a staffer to inform the White House of his announcement 30 minutes before it aired rather than doing it himself.
Separately, Manchin blamed the White House staffers for the bill negotiations falling through, saying that “inexcusable” leaks about his talks with Biden had been released.
Rumors have since started brewing that Manchin could be considering defecting from the Democratic Party, an idea that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously said was “great.”
However, there is a chance that Manchin might agree to vote on a scaled-down, $1.8 trillion counter-offer to Biden’s plan, which include provisions for universal pre-K and measures to combat the climate emergency. This plan from the Manchin also axes the expanded monthly child tax credit, which the West Virginia senator reportedly told colleagues he believed would be abused by some Americans to feed their drug addiction.