Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is again smashing the Democrats' spending plans. He should just become a Republican at this point, right? He won't. One of the last true moderate-to-conservative Democrats in Congress told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he's against any new spending package that increases taxes or has climate change provisions. That's the ball game, folks.
It's a 50-50 Senate. Manchin's opposition kills any chance of a massive spending package sailing through before the midterms. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has also been a terror regarding her party's agenda. She's also one that's just as independent-minded as Manchin and doesn't kiss the ring of Schumer. Both have given Chuck agita over their stances on some of the party's big-ticket items.
With Manchin gone, the Democrats must regroup and figure out what to do next. The West Virginia Democrat grabbed his sickle and cloak. He's become the grim reaper for Senate Democrats again:
Sen. Joe Manchin has said he’ll oppose an economic measure he’s been negotiating with Democratic leaders if it includes climate or energy provisions or higher taxes on the rich and corporations, a Democrat briefed on the conversations said late Thursday, delivering a stunning blow to one of the party’s top election-year priorities.
The official said Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday that he will only support a new measure if it is limited to curbing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage. Manchin abruptly derailed his party’s bigger and wider-ranging social and environment package last December after months of negotiations and after the measure had already passed the House.
Manchin’s demands leave the future of the latest measure unclear, seemingly upending the hopes of President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders’ for a more sweeping package they could push through Congress by August. That would have let them show Democratic voters that they were addressing a range of party priorities like curbing climate change and taxing the rich and draw a contrast with Republicans, who are expected to oppose the legislation unanimously.
The official who described the talks was not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Biden and congressional Democrats have been hoping to enact a roughly $1 trillion version of the $2 trillion bill that Manchin killed in December and tout it as an achievement before the November elections. Republicans, who hope to capture House and Senate control in the fall voting, say the new measure would worsen inflation by boosting spending and raising taxes.
Manchin, one of Congress’ more centrist Democrats, has enormous leverage, much to the dismay of many in his party. Using special budget rules, Democrats can push a package through the 50-50 Senate if they are solidly united, along with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
They also control the House, though narrowly. Recent grumbling from some moderates there about raising taxes — an easy campaign-season target for Republicans — has raised questions about the fate of tax boost proposals in that chamber.
Top Democrats have wanted to reach agreement and approve the measure before Congress begins its August recess. Progress on major legislation is much harder in the autumn of election years, when every vote can become the target of a barrage of campaign attack ads. (Associated Press)
Some of the reactions to Manchin's position are hilarious.
Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta said that Manchin's opposition doomed the planet. Are you kidding me?
Manchin is not an obstacle. He's merely a reminder that if Democrats want to get something done, it has to be grounded in reality. The party is so left-wing that they cannot get anything done. The last spending package they passed, which centered on COVID relief, seems to be the spark that set off the inflation bomb. It was too much, too fast.
These spending talks were all for show, too, right? No Democrat, especially those in swing districts, wanted a massive spending package passed. No one wants to stick their neck out on major stuff during an election year. After November, the GOP will kill Biden's agenda items.
Let's thank Joe Manchin again for saving us from falling into the economic abyss.