The defection of moderate Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin from the ranks of Democrats backing Neera Tanden’s confirmation as director of the Office of Management and Budget signals the erosion of Biden’s Senate control.
The next chip off Biden’s Senate bloc came when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the $15 minimum wage can’t be included in stimulus bill if the Dems plan on using reconciliation to pass it by a simple majority.
Biden’s Senate losing streak looks to continue.
Rachel Levine, Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health, might also not get confirmed.
Levine, who is transgender, has come under fire from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for supporting gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for minors.
Paul aptly compared it to genital mutilation of women.
When Paul asked if Levine backed letting minors decide if they want transgender therapy, even without parental consent, the nominee did nothing to calm the issue and dodged the question, replying that “transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field, with robust research and standards of care that have been developed.”
Somehow it’s hard to see West Virginia voters agreeing with that position.
Biden may also lose his nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general. Murthy served in the post under Obama, and Biden wants to bring him back.
But again, Manchin may block the nomination.
Murthy used his stint with Obama to cite gun violence as a public health emergency, a position that cost him the backing of the pro-gun Manchin.
Will Murthy use his new post to launch an anti-gun crusade on public health grounds?
Not if Manchin has his way.
There is no appeasing Manchin; the best approach is to accommodate him.
But if Biden moves to the right to do so, he’ll risk losing Georgia’s two new ultra-left senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Then he’ll be like a man sleeping in a bed with a blanket that’s too small to cover him. If he pulls it down, his neck will get cold, but the other way his feet will freeze.
For Biden, there will be no firm Senate majority in either direction.
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