Senator Bernie Sanders has accused the two Democratic lawmakers who are holding up the Build Back Better bill of “arrogance.”
In an MSNBC interview, the Vermont independent appeared angered by the resistance of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to the massive $1.75 trillion social care package the Biden administration is trying to pass.
The legislation—which requires all 50 senators caucusing with the Democrats to pass via the reconciliation process—has been hampered by Manchin and Sinema who have objected to aspects of the bill.
President Joe Biden has hinted that the bill widening the social safety net will not pass by the end of the year as hoped.
MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes asked Sanders if Manchin was “acting in bad faith and kicking the can until it can die,” or could Democrats take heart from “the fact he’s still talking.”
Sanders replied: “You have got 50 Republicans who are not prepared to do anything for the environment or working families,” referring to the GOP’s opposition to the Democrats’ plans.
He continued: “You have 48 people in the Democratic caucus who are prepared, and a president of the United States prepared to think big.”
“And you have two Democrats who, in my view, are kind of acting like Republicans,” he said, without mentioning the names of Sinema and Manchin, although it was clear who he was referring to as MSNBC ran images of the pair on screen.
Sinema has not committed to backing the bill, due in part to the price tag. Manchin has made many objections to the bill, and among his criticisms is that it would increase the deficit.
He has also opposed the move by the Democrats to extend by a year the expanded child tax credit expiring this month which has lifted millions out of poverty.
Manchin said there should be a 10-year extension order so that its true cost can be made transparent to the public, CNN reported.
However, referring to the pair, Sanders said: “I do not respect the arrogance of any member of the Senate who says, ‘You know what? I’m going to torpedo this entire bill, supported overwhelmingly by the American people.'”
“You’ve got two people saying, ‘You know what? Hey, if you don’t do it my way—I don’t care what the president wants, I don’t care what 48 of my colleagues want—it’s my way or the highway.'”
“That, I regard as arrogance,” he added.