The Biden administration had little to say Friday after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) put the brakes on a slimmed-down version of President Biden’s massive social spending plan, which has been stalled for months.

“As you’ve heard us say many times before, we’re just not going to negotiate in public as it comes to climate change and the president’s climate change plan and how he’s going to get there,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One en route to Saudi Arabia.

“The president has always been very clear that he’s going to use every tool in his toolbox,  every authority that he has to make sure that we deal with the climate change – the climate crisis that we are currently in,” she added. “But as far as the negotiations, I’m just not going to say much more about that.” 

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on July 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre talked about the upcoming Consumer Price Index report and the continued increases in inflation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed concerns over Biden’s stalled social spending plan.
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Manchin reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this week he would only support a new version of the plan, dubbed Build Back Better, if it was limited to addressing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage — and left out new environmental regulations and tax increases on corporations and high earners.

The lawmaker’s objections became known after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Wednesday that the annual rate of inflation reached 9.1% in June, the highest level since November 1981.

Manchin has warned that he would not support new spending that he sees as inflationary, and used that rationale to justify killing the original version of Build Back Better in December.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a memorial for Hershel W. "Woody" Williams at the World War II Memorial Thursday, July 14, 2022 in Washington. Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died at age 98. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Manchin stated he would only support the bill if it was limited to addressing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage, leaving out environmental regulations and tax increases.

However, the West Virginia pol has left the door open to supporting smaller versions of the bill and has held off-and-on talks with Schumer for months.

When pressed on whether the White House believed Manchin was “on the level” in the ongoing negotiations, Jean-Pierre avoided mentioning the senator by name or providing details about the discussions. 

US President Joe Biden delivers statements to the media with the Palestinian president after their meeting at the Muqataa Presidential Compound in the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on July 15, 2022. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
The remarks from the Biden administration came as the president is on a foreign affairs trip in the Middle East.
AFP via Getty Images

“We’re going to continue to do the work and this is why, you know, this is why we feel that Congress needs to act,” she said. “We need to continue to push forward and lower prices for Americans when it comes to drug prices, when it comes to energy. And so we’re going to continue to have those negotiations and we’re going to continue to make sure that we call on Congress on that.” 

This story is developing.


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