Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ends Twitter Hiatus to Jab at Joe Manchin Over Social Spending

The New York progressive wondered on Twitter whether she should send her constituents to "Manchin's yacht" as the West Virginia lawmaker continued to balk at the trillion-dollar legislation

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joe Manchin
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left), Joe Manchin. Photo: Jenny Anderson/ABC via Getty; Greg Nash-Pool/Getty

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cut short a brief break from Twitter on Tuesday to chide West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin for effectively killing the current Build Back Better proposal, a sweeping social spending bill that passed the House of Representatives but has faced resistance from moderate Democrats in the Senate.

Manchin, 74, would have been a key vote in the Senate to pass the trillion-dollar legislation, given the Democrats' razor-thin majority. But he has repeatedly been at odds with his party colleagues and the Biden White House, balking at the total cost and the way the spending was structured.

He also publicly complained that Biden officials soured him on the whole affair: "They drove some things and put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable," he said in December, declining to be more specific.

Asked on Tuesday about the status of the legislation, one of Joe Biden's signature campaign promises, Manchin told CNN: "What Build Back Better bill? There is no, I mean, I don't know what you all are talking about ... No, no, no, it's dead."

Ocasio-Cortez — a 32-year-old progressive — responded on Twitter, writing that she felt Manchin's opposition to the legislation flew in the face of those most in need. (The proposal, among other things, would work to expand programs that help those in poverty and destitution.)

"Seniors, kids, & people with disabilities in my community have been sleeping with bubble jackets on in 18 degree nights, despite paying rent, bc the NYCHA funding to fix their heating and capital needs is in BBB," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "Where should I direct them to wait out the cold? Manchin's yacht?"

She had said earlier in the week that she was taking a "break" from the social media site, due to the negativity she often saw.

It isn't the first time Ocasio-Cortez and Manchin have publicly split on the spending bill or the first time she has jabbed at his decision-making — or said he was disrespecting her.

She previously accused him of taking "weekly huddles" with oil lobbyists rather than fight for his constituents.

In September, she also took Manchin to task for what she called "weird, patronizing behavior" after he called her "young lady" during an interview on CNN's State of the Union.

"In Washington, I usually know my questions of power are getting somewhere when the powerful stop referring to me as 'Congresswoman' and start referring to me as 'young lady' instead," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted of Manchin.

"Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as 'young lady' they were ask responded to by being addressed with their age and gender?" she wrote then. "They'd be pretty upset if one responded with 'the old man,' right? Why this kind of weird, patronizing behavior is so accepted is beyond me!"

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., conducts a news conference on the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, November 1, 2021.
Sen. Joe Manchin. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

After protracted negotiations with congressional leadership and the White House, Manchin said late last year that he was walking away from the Build Back Better bill.

"I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I tried everything humanly possible," he told Fox News Sunday in December. "I can't get there ... This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do."

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Manchin singled out inflation, the national debt, "geopolitical unrest" and the COVID-19 pandemic as factors behind his decision.

His comments this week suggest, however, that he would support a new social spending bill, jettisoning the framework of Build Back Better.

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