Democrat whip Durbin rips Manchin for dragging out budget talks but won’t pull his Energy chair role

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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin faces more criticism from fellow Democrats on Monday, with majority senator Whip Dick Durbin accusing the centrist of letting the party’s budget talks “drag” for months before opposing more of its key measures.

Conservative Democrat Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer he could not support the climate change provisions of the Reconciliation Act late last week. He killed a $1.75 trillion version of the spending package during a Fox News interview last December — an embarrassing blow to President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“My biggest frustration is that I think Joe should have made his position clear much earlier,” said Schumer’s runner-up Durbin.

The Illinois Democrat was outraged at CNN that Manchin “let this case drag on for six or seven months of this year” before voicing his opposition.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took harsher words for Manchin during a Sunday interview with ABC News, accusing him of “deliberately sabotaging” the president’s agenda.

Asked about the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist’s fervent comments and similar sentiments from other progressives, Manchin insisted he “don’t take it personally.”

‘I’ve been here a long time. People sometimes say things they may not mean, and I don’t take it personally. I only have one thing personally: my family,” Manchin also told CNN.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin sparked outrage from his own party when he objected to climate change proposals in Democrats' agenda discussions

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is the latest Democrat to publicly express frustration at Manchin's abrupt opposition to key proposals in ongoing budget negotiations

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is the latest Democrat to publicly express frustration at Manchin's abrupt opposition to key proposals in ongoing budget negotiations

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (right) is the latest Democrat to publicly express frustration at Senator Joe Manchin’s abrupt opposition in West Virginia (left) to key proposals in ongoing budget talks

Manchin’s turnaround on climate change proposals previously suggested he may openly earn another round of attacks from progressives in his party, including calls for him to be removed from the Senate Energy Committee chair.

Durbin reportedly turned down those calls, while Manchin indicated he would not depart from his role.

“I understand their frustration and concern,” Manchin said. “It’s a democracy, I’m from another state – but energy is something we must have.”

And on Sunday, Sanders clashed with ABC News This Week anchor Martha Raddatz when she ventured to raise Manchin’s “abrupt” opposition to Biden’s climate change measures.

“He didn’t do anything abruptly,” Sanders yelled about Raddatz’s attempt to ask about the conservative Democrat. “He sabotaged the president’s agenda.”

He accused Manchin and his fellow Conservative Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, of “deliberately” going against “what the American people want.”

Sanders also wrote off Manchin’s concerns about the impact of a spending package on rising inflation as “nonsense.”

Switching the country from fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions, especially in light of the worsening effects of climate change, was a cornerstone of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ripped off his colleague Manchin during a fiery interview on ABC News on Sunday

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ripped off his colleague Manchin during a fiery interview on ABC News on Sunday

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ripped off his colleague Manchin during a fiery interview on ABC News on Sunday

But after months of top-level negotiations, Manchin torpedoed Democrats’ chances of meeting Biden’s climate agenda in Congress on Thursday.

The Senate’s 50-50 split means virtually every Democrat must vote in the closing stages to approve a majority of Biden’s more progressive agenda items. It also gives Manchin and Sinema an excessive influence on their party.

“Six months ago I made it clear that you have people like Manchin — Sinema to a lesser extent — who are deliberately sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want,” Sanders said. .

“There’s nothing new about this. And the problem was, we keep talking to Manchin like he was serious. He was not’

The Manchin and Sinema opposition has been responsible for thwarting Democrats’ attempts to codify voting rights and abortion protections and to pass Biden’s ambitious spending plan known as Build Back Better.

Manchin’s takedown on Thursday’s climate regulations sparked a wave of criticism from his fellow Democrats, including an outraged Sanders.

“This is a man who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a man who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” the Vermont senator said.

Sanders rejected Manchin’s explanation that he was acting at the will of West Virginians and responded to the rising cost of consumer goods — which rose 9.1 percent on average in June from the year before.

It was “the same nonsense Manchin has been talking about for a year,” the progressive legislator said.

“West Virginia – it’s a beautiful state, and I’ve had the pleasure of being there. Great people. It’s one of the poorest states in this country.’

Inflation in the US rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and higher than what economists had forecast.  Sanders dismissed Manchin's inflation concerns as 'nonsense'

Inflation in the US rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and higher than what economists had forecast.  Sanders dismissed Manchin's inflation concerns as 'nonsense'

Inflation in the US rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and higher than what economists had forecast. Sanders dismissed Manchin’s inflation concerns as ‘nonsense’

He urged his residents to take advantage of amenities such as expanded Medicare and higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy and large corporations.

“Ask the people of West Virginia whether all people should have health care as a human right, like in any other country on Earth. They will say that,” says Sanders.

“In my humble opinion, you know, Manchin represents the very richest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”

And Sanders warned that Manchin’s opposition to the climate change proposals will have implications for “the future of the planet.”

“So if Manchin is sabotaging climate change, this is what’s going on for generations to come. In the West, all over the world, we’re seeing increased significantly – more and more heat waves. You should be looking at more flooding. This is an existential threat to humanity,” he explained.

Sanders’ closing message was a public appeal to voters to elect “more progressive Democrats” in future elections—another veiled jab at the southern center.

The president last week pledged to take “strong” action to slow the effects of climate change after Manchin’s turnaround.

“If the Senate does not act to address the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to address this moment,” Biden said in a statement.

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