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Sanders, Manchin Trade Blows In Battle Over Spending Bill

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


The feud between West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is reaching epic levels.

Sanders, 80, penned an op ed in a West Virginia newspaper, presumably to apply pressure to Manchin to get Joe Biden’s two spending bills passed and the West Virginia Senator is furious, The Daily Mail reported.

On Friday Sanders went after Manchin by appealing to the state’s voters with his piece in the state’s biggest newspaper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

“The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, supported by President Biden and almost all Democrats in Congress, is an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes,” Sanders said in the piece.

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He talked about how he believes the bills would help the people of West Virginia with lower prices for prescription drugs, expanding Medicare, and improving childcare.

“The United States, and states like West Virginia and Vermont in particular, are seeing their populations age,” the senator said.

“This bill greatly expands home health care and makes sure that these jobs are adequately paid,” he said.

“This is a pivotal moment in modern American history. We now have a historic opportunity to support the working families of West Virginia, Vermont and the entire country and create policy which works for all, not just the few,” he said.

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But Sen. Manchin was not about to be intimidated by Sanders, and issued a takedown of him on his Twitter.

“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,” the 74-year-old senator said.

“Senator Sanders’ answer is to throw more money on already overheated economy while 52 other Senators have grave concerns about this approach. To be clear, again, Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and 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,” he said.

Manchin has proposed holding the measure’s overall 10-year cost to $1.5 trillion and has said he wants to limit some health care initiatives to benefit only lower-earning people.

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Sanders and Manchin stand, respectively, as among the Democrats’ most progressive and conservative senators.

Biden said on Friday that he does not think the $3.5 trillion plan will be passed, and a slimmed-down version will prevail.

Yet, although he expects the package to shrink, he said during a visit to Connecticut that he would top up the legislation after it was passed.

‘We’re not going to get $3.5 trillion,’ he admitted. 

‘We’ll get less than that, but we’re gonna get it. 

‘And we’re going to come back and get the rest.’

Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to reduce the sweeping package to about $2 trillion in spending, which would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy. 

The Manchin and Sanders feud has caught the attention of Biden recently.

President Joe Biden, aware that Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Manchin of West Virginia are far apart regarding his massive $3.5 trillion spending bill, joked Saturday that there could be violence if the two were to share a room anytime soon.

Like, homicidal violence.

According to the Washington Examiner:

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President Joe Biden joked on a phone call with Democrats that putting Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders in a room together to hash out the roughly $2 trillion difference in their visions of the social safety net expansions would result in “homicide.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, suggested earlier this week on the call that the only way to reach a deal on the bill may be to put the centrist West Virginia Democrat in a room with Sanders, whose agenda comprises much of the bill, CNN reported. But their differences are so vast that Biden didn’t think they would be able to cut a deal one on one.

Other Democrats on the call, including Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, agreed with the president.

“I just think it’s a matter of getting them in the same room,” he said after Biden earlier quipped it might result in a “homicide.”

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