Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) slammed Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for writing an op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper urging him to support the Biden administration’s potential $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.
“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state,” Manchin said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Manchin derided Sanders for calling to “throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other senators have grave concerns about this approach.”
Manchin added, “I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”
Sanders touted the reconciliation bill in an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Friday.
“This reconciliation bill is being opposed by every Republican in Congress as well as the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry and the billionaire class,” Sanders wrote. “Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation,” however, “two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.” (The second senator opposed is presumably Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.)
Sanders advocated for several measures outlined as part of the reconciliation bill, including free community college and free universal pre-K, expanding Medicare to include dental, hearing, and eye coverage, and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with insurers.
With the Senate tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans and Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote, Democrats need the support of all 50 of their senators to pass the reconciliation bill. Measures passed by the Senate via the budget reconciliation process require a simple majority instead of the 60 votes generally needed to break a filibuster.