Psaki: ‘No Regrets’ on Tough Talk Rebuked by Sen. Joe Manchin

Psaki: 'No Regrets' on Tough Talk Rebuked by Sen. Joe Manchin (C-SPAN)

By Eric Mack | Monday, 20 December 2021 04:10 PM

After Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., claimed the White House was attempting to bully him into being the 50th vote on President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she has "no regrets" on "aggressively communicating" with the lone Democrat holdout on the bill.

"That is certainly not our objective, never has been our objective," Psaki told reporters at Monday's daily press briefing, when asked about Manchin saying the White House attempted to "badger and beat him up." She added, "But our objective is getting this legislation passed and reminding the American people and all people who could vote for it, what the stakes are.

"So, no, we don't have regrets about aggressively communicating about it and making people understand that if we don't pass this legislation, costs for the American people will go up and economic growth projections will not go in the right direction."

President Joe Biden and Manchin remain on friendly terms despite Manchin's decision to oppose Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, Psaki told reporters.

"I can't speak for Sen. Manchin on what has upset him. I'll let him speak to that himself with more specifics, if he chooses to, and he may or may not choose to … and that's his prerogative," she said. "The door remains open and the president considers him a longtime friend."

But Psaki noted "Manchin has spoken to" whether this situation might force him out of the Democratic Party, which was also rumored on former President Trump's election night in 2016, but long rejected by Manchin.

"The president continues to believe they share a range of values," she continued. "They share a commitment to helping working people, to helping lower costs to the American people. Our intention today was to provide details to the American people about events of the last few weeks, and our statement followed a statement by Sen. Manchin."

Psaki added from the private discussions "there were commitments made, so that's why we were surprised."

"Just as Sen. Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word," read Psaki's lengthy and pointed statement Sunday, which blamed Manchin for the alleged consequences of America's problems without passing the bill.

Psaki said action on Biden's legislative agenda is urgently needed.