Politics & Policy

Democratic Congressman Claims Manchin’s Opposition to Build Back Better Shows He ‘Doesn’t Care about Black People’

Jamaal Bowman speaks at a watch party for his Democratic primary results in Yonkers, N.Y., June 23, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Representative Jamaal Bowman (D., NY) has joined the chorus of Democratic politicos who have denounced Senator Joe Manchin’s decision not to back the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending package.

“It’s an example of Joe Manchin, as a white man, showing that he doesn’t care about Black people, he doesn’t care about Latinos, he doesn’t care about immigrants, he doesn’t care about women, and he doesn’t care about the poor” said Bowman.

“He’s a millionaire and he has the privilege to kick the can down the road and not vote for this bill while the people of my district are suffering,” added the indignant congressman.

Bowman’s comments follow a scathing White House statement that all but accused Manchin of lying, Senator Bernie Sanders’s assertion that Manchin “doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America,” and a media backlash that matched the intensity of the bill’s sponsors.

The congressman is not the first to decry Manchin’s decision on the basis of  the interests of their, rather Manchin’s, constituency. Washington senator Patty Murray responded to the news by declaring that “Joe Manchin might have woken up today and decided his job changed, but I know exactly what mine is: fighting for Washington state workers and families.”

Since Manchin announced his opposition to Build Back Better, it has been reported by the Washington Post that Manchin offered to support a similarly-sized bill with different priorities. That offer was rejected by the White House.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, has responded to the criticism of Manchin by professing to be “shocked at the vitriol,” directed toward the West Virginia senator by his Democratic colleagues.

“He doesn’t fit well over there [in the Democratic caucus],” said McConnell, who added that “we certainly welcome him to join us if he was so inclined.” Prior reporting has indicated that Manchin meets with McConnell often, and enjoys a pleasant relationship with the Republican leader.

Senator Chuck Schumer, McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, has vowed — in a thinly-disguised shot at Manchin — to bring Build Back Better to the the Senate floor for a vote “so that every Member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television.”

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