Manchin May Have Just Dealt Fatal Blow to Biden's Dreams for Build Back Better

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is talking about the new CBO score that came in on Friday on the Build Back Better bill and he’s not at all happy.

While the Biden team has been falsely pitching that the bill was going to be fully paid for, the CBO revealed the true costs if the social programs they were planning became permanent. The way they’re trying to hide the true cost of the bill is only putting in the cost of the programs for a couple of years. The CBO score revealed the true cost if the programs were kept. It would cost nearly $5 trillion and add $3 trillion to the nation’s debt if it remains in effect through 2031.

As we reported, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was furious at the CBO for being honest, calling the report “fake,” saying they weren’t scoring on the real bill. But then Fox’s Peter Doocy asked her if it’s “fake,” which programs did Biden intend to cut in the future if she’s saying it’s not real and she refused to say. She was caught and had no answer to an excellent question. She also couldn’t get around the fact that Biden has praised the CBO in the past as the “gold standard” for assessing such bills.

Manchin obviously wasn’t taken in by the posturing from the White House. He called the newest numbers “very sobering.”

“Inflation is real. It’s not transitory. It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re concerned about. And geopolitical fallout,” Manchin, D-W.Va., said, referencing Russia’s buildup of troops on Ukraine’s border.

Manchin said he was “very concerned.”

In a key warning sign, Manchin told CNN the bill should not rely on temporary spending that lawmakers will face pressure to extend. “I don’t think that’s a fair evaluation of saying we are going to spend X amount of dollars but then we are going to have to depend on coming back and finding more money … I’m concerned about paying down debt too,” he said.

Manchin made it very clear he doesn’t think there’s any rush to try to come to an agreement.

Manchin had a conversation with Joe Biden about the numbers and inflation yesterday. On Monday evening, after he met with Biden, he was asked if he thought that the bill could be passed this year and he didn’t sound encouraging for it, saying “anything is possible.” But he said the bill should be “within the limits of what we can afford.” Manchin also said the CBO was “non-partisan” and “they’re going to give us the facts whether we like it or not” and “you might as well look at the whole ball of wax if you will.”

Manchin’s big thing right down the line has been the cost and now he’s facing the truth that the $1.75 trillion number they were pitching him is just a smokescreen to hide the real future costs. He’s not buying the White House argument here, and he’s looking at the real costs. It’s very clear that he’s putting the brakes on this and while he’s not outright walking away, he’s not seeing it getting done with the numbers the way they are anytime soon and it surely doesn’t sound like it’s meeting Biden’s dreams of before Christmas if anything at all gets passed. They keep trying to slip this by him but he’s just not going for it.