Apparently, Sen. Joe Manchin wants parents receiving the child tax credit to "just say no to drugs."
On Sunday (December 19), the West Virginia lawmaker sidetracked President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislation after announcing he wouldn't vote for it. For months, Manchin has complained about the social safety net's cost, but behind closed doors, the senator's real issue seems to be his own mistrust of people with low incomes receiving government funds.
Manchin reportedly told his Democratic colleagues in a private conversation he believes Americans with the lowest incomes are using child tax credit money on drugs instead of providing for their children, two sources confirmed to The Huffington Post.
Under Biden's Build Back Better, child tax credit money would flow for another year. The funds have already shown to reduced childhood poverty by 30%, but Manchin is digging up tired anti-poor archetypes evoked under President Ronald Reagan and the "Welfare Queen."
Manchin's comments shocked several senators who were in the room and said his assessment is unfair to the very people who voted for him, HuffPost reported.
But Manchin's assault on the social safety net didn't stop with drugs –– apparently he also doesn't trust Americans to be honest about using the paid sick leave policy that would be enacted under the bill, too. Manchin told colleagues, American workers would use the paid leave to go hunting.
If the plan isn't passed, the December child tax credit payment could be the last for an estimated 36 million American households.
News of Manchin's un-support of the legislation comes just before Christmas, with inflation at record highs, a surge of new Covid-19 cases, and unemployment disproportionately impacting Black Americans and other groups of color, despite being lower for white Americans.