West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is sticking to his guns as progressives try to ram President Joe Biden’s spending plan through Congress.
“Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy and the American people,” the senator said. “Every elected representative needs to know what they are voting for and the impact it has, not only on their constituents, but the entire country.”
He then accused his Democratic colleagues of holding their $1 trillion infrastructure bill — which he has already agreed to vote with Democrats on — “hostage.”
“In my view — this is not how the United States Congress should operate. The political games must stop. Twice now, the House has balked at the opportunity to send the bipartisan infrastructure legislation to the President. As you’ve heard, there are some House Democrats who say they can’t support this infrastructure package until they get my commitment on the reconciliation legislation. It is time to vote the bipartisan infrastructure bill up or down, and go home to explain your decision.”
“For the sake of the country, I urge the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Holding this bill hostage won’t work to get my support for the reconciliation bill,” he continued.
Manchin, along with Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, have been holding the line in negotiations with their fellow Democrats, who hold a narrow majority in the Senate.
The two senators have successfully trimmed down the bill, which emphasizes social safety net spending and climate policies, from $3.5 trillion. In particular, it includes universal preschool, tax credits for electric vehicles and a continuation of COVID-related Affordable Care Act subsidies for four years, according to CNBC.
Their opposition to the original framework was met with disdain and even hostility from progressives, who have accused the senators of withholding crucial programs that would benefit the president and their party politically.
In reality, their natural disposition toward fiscal responsibility has made Manchin and Sinema reasonable in their demands.
It is not outlandish for a senator to want more details about the economic consequences of a bill with a massive price tag, but progressives and the Biden administration want to keep that aspect of their policies quiet.
Of course, this has nothing to do with the country’s financial situation and everything to do with partisan politics.
The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress are nervously approaching 2022, as Biden’s support from independent voters, in particular, continues to decline.
If the governor’s race in Virginia leads to a Republican victory, tensions on Capitol Hill will intensify.
A victory from Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin could serve as an early warning sign for the midterm elections, so Democrats will be left scrambling to pass their agenda before they are out of power.
This spending bill is the cornerstone of what they want to get done, and will have little to brag about to the constituents in their home districts if it does not go through.
Manchin is being completely reasonable with his demands, even though it’s not convenient for the White House.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.