Manchin appeared on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday to express his concerns over President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion plan for social and environmental spending, denying Ocasio-Cortez's allegation that he has 'weekly huddles' with Exxon executives. 'I don't know that young lady that well, I really don't. I met her one time between sets here, but that's it. We've not had any conversations. She's speculating and saying things,' Manchin stated.
In a series of tweets, Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat whose vote is vital in the evenly divided Senate. '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,' tweeted the left-wing New York Democrat.
'Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as “young lady” they were ask [sic] responded to by being addressed with their age and gender? 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!' she declared.
The public feud between Manchin and Ocasio-Cortez began last week, when the senator aired his concerns about the spending bill in an op-ed last week. Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter claiming that her fellow Democrat was 'killing people' with his objections.
'Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called 'bipartisan' fossil fuel bills,' the New York Democrat wrote. 'Sick of this 'bipartisan' corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.'
Manchin shot back at the firebrand progressive when CNN host Dana Bash asked him about her claims, replying: 'I keep my door open for everybody. That's totally false.'
'Those type of superlatives, it's just awful. And continue to divide, divide, divide,' Manchin insisted.
Pressed on whether he opposes Biden's spending plan because of donor influence, Manchin retorted: 'I'm opposed to it because it makes no sense at all.'
Manchin's support is crucial for Democrats if they wish to enact Biden´s massive 'Build Back Better' agenda, with the Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaker if there is no Republican support.
With congressional committees working toward the target of Wednesday set by party leaders to have the bill drafted, Manchin made clear his view, in a series of television interviews, that there was 'no way' Congress would meet the late September goal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for passage.
Nonetheless, the moderate Democrat continues to snub his party's plan to not pass a separate infrastructure package without the progressive reconciliation package.
'No, I could not support $3.5 trillion,' Manchin maintained while speaking to NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.