Sen. Joe Manchin said he got to his "wit's end" with White House staff over Biden's spending bill.
"They drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable," Manchin said.Manchin has killed any chance of the bill passing in its current form, saying he can't support it.
Sen. Joe Manchin vented in a Monday radio interview that he got to his "wit's end" and appeared to lay the blame on White House staff for the collapse of negotiations over President Joe Biden's nearly $2 trillion spending package.
The West Virginia Democrat, a key swing vote in the Senate, officially put the kibosh on the legislation in a Sunday interview on Fox News.
"I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there," Manchin told Fox News Sunday after weeks of unsuccessful negotiations between Manchin and the White House over key provisions of the bill.
"Basically I'm always willing you know, me always willing to work and listen, and try. I just got to the wit's end and they know the real reason what happened. They won't tell you, and I'm not going to, " Manchin subsequently told West Virginia's Metronews Talkline host Hoppy Kercheval on Monday.
"Wait, wait, wait, you said, there is, they know the real reason and they're not gonna tell us, you're not gonna tell us. What do you mean? What's the real reason?" Kercheval pressed.
"The bottom line is, there was basically, and it's staff. It's staff-driven. I understand staff. This is not the president. This is the staff," Manchin said. "And they drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable. They know what it is, and that's it."
Manchin didn't specify which actions on the part of White House staffers he was referring to, but he could be referencing anonymously-sourced reports that both blamed him for nixing an extension of the expanded child tax credit passed in March of 2021 and cast him in an unflattering light when discussing the rocky state of the negotiations.
First, CNN's Manu Raju reported that Manchin wanted to slash the extended child tax credit from the American Rescue Plan altogether. Manchin has repeatedly raised concerns that the tax credit isn't effectively targeted toward the families that need it most and will disincentive work.
But both Manchin and his office vehemently disputed the reports, with Manchin describing them as "bullshit" to a Huffington Post reporter.
"Sen. Manchin is not telling President Biden what to include or not include. He has always been supportive of the child tax credit," a person familiar with his thinking told Insider's Joseph Zeballos-Roig at the time. "He has also made it clear the cost should not be greater than $1.75 trillion."
Then, Politico reported that talks between Biden and Manchin were "going very poorly" and the two key Democrats were "very far apart," citing unnamed sources.
White House Press Jen Psaki issued a blistering statement on Sunday accusing Manchin of pulling a bait-and-switch and "sudden and inexplicable reversal" on the White House.
"Basically they retaliated," Manchin said of Psaki's statement in the Monday radio interview. "I figured they would come back strong."
Both the Washington Post and Politico reported that Manchin didn't contact Biden or the White House himself to communicate that he would officially come out against the plan, instead dispatching an aide to deliver the news about 30 minutes before the interview.
In the Monday radio interview, Manchin said that ultimately the intense pressure on him from other Democrats and activists to get in line and support the spending bill only backfired.
"I'm not blaming anybody. I knew where they were and I knew what they could and could not do," Manchin said. "They just never realized it because they figured, surely to God, we can move one person. Surely, we can badger and beat one person up. Surely, we can get enough protestors to make that person uncomfortable enough and they'll just say, 'Okay, I'll vote for anything, just quit.' Well, guess what? I'm from West Virginia. I'm not from where they're from where they can just beat the living crap outta people and think they'll be submissive, period."