All eyes on Joe Manchin, again, who won’t support liberal goodies in Dems new massive, $1-trillion bill

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has once again sunk Democrats’ hopes of passing a comprehensive economic bill chock full of liberal goodies that have nothing to do with repairing the nation’s ailing economy.

Manchin and his staff informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday that he’d only be willing to support the August reconciliation bill on certain terms—there would need to be provision for lowering the price of prescription drugs, as well as a two-year extension for subsidies under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

According to reporting by The Washington Post, Manchin made it clear that under no circumstances would he support a bill prior to the midterms that includes any climate provisions or measures to close the kind of tax loopholes that are routinely exploited by the country’s largest corporations and wealthiest citizens. And this despite signaling approval for such measures throughout the months of negotiation that led to this point.

Manchin’s stance endangers Democrats’ hopes of passing a massive economic package before the midterms, which the beleaguered party intended to tout ahead of their re-election campaigns in the coming months. And it’s not the first time that Manchin has torpedoed the massive legislative packages that the slim Democratic majority has attempted to cram through Congress—most notably, it was Manchin who only about seven months ago put the nail in the coffin of Biden’s prodigious, nearly $2-trillion “Build Back Better” monstrosity.

Manchin and Schumer have been engaged in negotiating this newest legislative effort for months. The West Virginia senator had previously signaled support for climate measures and tax increases on the upper stratum of earners, but he’s apparently had a change of mind—or simply couldn’t stomach the provisions Schumer was trying to slip in.

“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1 percent,” explained Sam Runyon, a spokeswoman for Joe Manchin. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”

In other words, Democrats will have to be content with a much smaller bill that only addresses at least some of the country’s core economic needs—and eschews pricey handouts to left-wing causes, such as “clean energy” initiatives.

And it’s not as if Democrats haven’t been trying to win the moderate Manchin over to their side. For instance, they’ve already surrendered most of their favorite spending proposals, whether that means paid family and medical leave, free child care, free pre-K, and tax benefits to the lowest-income Americans. But Manchin seemed more interested in combating the nation’s record inflation and deficit, and was uninterested in increasing federal spending.

Without Manchin’s support, it’s virtually impossible for the Democrats to achieve their most ambitious left-wing projects, given that the 50-50 tie in the Senate requires everyone to be on board with any proposed legislation.


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Todd Jaquith


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