Rep. Sara Jacobs
Rep. Sara Jacobs speaks on the House floor this week. Screenshot from video

Rep. Sara Jacobs, who has strongly advocated federal support to end child poverty, called Sen. Joe Manchin‘s surprise statement Sunday that he will oppose the Build Back Better Act “infuriating.”

“Extending the Child Tax Credit, child care, health care, lower drug costs, addressing climate change — these priorities are too important to give up on,” Jacobs said. “Senator Manchin’s comments are infuriating, but they are not the end. I’m not going to stop fighting for a better future.”

Manchin said in an interview on conservative Fox News that he has decided to oppose the $1.75 trillion package that is a centerpiece of President Biden’s legislative efforts. The senator from West Virginia’s opposition leaves Democrats one vote short of passing the bill.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Manchin’s reversal was unexpected since he had earlier committed to negotiating a compromise.

“If his comments on Fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” Psaki said in a statement.

Manchin, who represents a rural state with a smaller population than San Diego County, told Fox, “Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation.”

Jacobs, who represents the 53rd District in central San Diego County, said the top concern she heard from families when running for Congress was child care.

“I promised them I’d come to Washington and fight to bring down the cost of care and expand tax cuts like the Child Tax Credit that are so meaningful for millions of families across the country and right here in San Diego. And I won’t stop now,” she said.

Rep. Mike Levin, who represents the 49th District, which includes parts of North County, called the development “disappointing beyond words.”

“The Build Back Better Act is the best chance we have to improve the quality of life for everyone, and it is incredibly frustrating to have this legislation derailed by one individual, Senator Joe Manchin,” he said in a statement.

The Democrats need all 50 Senators in their party to pass the legislation, with Vice President Kamala Harris then casting a tie-breaking vote in the evenly divided Senate.

Updated 5:55 p.m. Dec. 19, 2021

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.