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Manchin thought parents would spend child credit on drugs and use paid sick leave to go hunting, report says

Manchin’s remaks contradict his stated reasons for opposing the Biden administration’s $1.8trn social spending package

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 20 December 2021 17:01 GMT
Manchin Child Tax Credit
Manchin Child Tax Credit (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Senator Joe Manchin’s publicly stated reasons for opposing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act social spending package don’t match up with what he told senate colleagues behind closed doors, according to a new report which alleges that he believes Americans who receive government benefits are prone to waste them or lie about their use.

The West Virginia Democrat announced on Sunday that he would oppose the bill that has been Mr Biden’s top legislative priority for most of this year, citing reasons such as the US national debt, signs of inflation, and the continuing prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic in American life.

In a statement, Mr Manchin slammed his colleagues for being “determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face”.

“I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight,” he said.

But according to HuffPost, Mr Manchin’s opposition to two of the most popular provisions in the $1.8trn bill stem from a distrust of his own constituents’ ability to spend money wisely and a belief that they would abuse programmes meant to benefit them.

Mr Manchin, who represents a state with extremely high rates of child poverty, reportedly told colleagues that he believed parents who receive up to $300 per child per month from the bill’s extension of the American Rescue Plan Act child tax credit would spend that money on drugs rather than use it to care for their children.

He has also reportedly told colleagues that he opposed the bill’s paid sick leave provisions because, in his estimation, people would lie to employers about illness so they could fraudulently claim paid sick leave for the purpose of embarking on hunting trips.

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