U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) returns to a basement office meeting with other Senators which included Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME), at the United States Capitol in Washington, United States, on December 15, 2021. REUTERS / Elizabeth Frantz / Files

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WASHINGTON, Dec.20 (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on Monday said White House staff had done “inexcusable” things that contributed to their decision to publicly reject President Joe’s social and climate policy plan Biden, a decision that jeopardizes the legislation.

Manchin made the comments during an interview with West Virginia MetroNews radio station, after telling Fox News on Sunday that he could not vote for the $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill.

Manchin said he wouldn’t say the “real reason” talks failed.

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But when asked what it was, he said, “At the end of the day, it’s … it’s staff. It’s purely staff. … It’s not not the president. It’s staff. And they drove some things and brought out things that were absolutely inexcusable. “

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday that stopping Manchin’s negotiations on the bill would represent a “sudden and inexplicable turnaround in his position and a violation of his commitments to the bill. president and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate. “

Manchin’s move prompted Goldman Sachs to downgrade its forecast for economic growth in the United States.

A Manchin aide called the White House minutes before Senator Fox’s interview, people familiar with the matter said. The White House could not reach the senator directly in response.

Manchin raised concerns about a number of proposals in Biden’s home policy bill, including several climate proposals and a provision extending monthly payments to parents.

A snapshot of the proposal Manchin submitted to the White House last week included $ 1.8 trillion in funding over 10 years, as Biden had hoped, but no child tax credit, reported Monday the Washington Post.

Manchin’s support is crucial in a chamber where Democrats have the least amount of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday he plans to go ahead with a vote early next year anyway.

During Monday’s interview, Manchin said he told Schumer in July that he would only support $ 1.5 trillion in spending, or up to $ 1.75 trillion with improved tax reform elements. .

The current proposal is too close to the original proposal, he said. Every time Manchin and the White House took something away, the bill went back to the House of Representatives and “they put everything back together,” he said.

A leading liberal Democrat, Representative Pramila Jayapal, offered a scathing assessment of her colleague.

“This lack of integrity is astounding in a city where people say the only thing you have is your word.”

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Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Caitlin Webber; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Heather Timmons, Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman

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