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Has Joe Manchin Learned His Lesson?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has had quite the memorable past few days, as he appeared on a several of this week's Sunday shows. While Manchin's further political aspirations no doubt came up, as people wonder what he will do for 2024 when he is up for reelection, and if he will remain a Democrat, the past mistakes the senator made by going along with his party were also no doubt addressed.

In addition to discussing what Manchin will do in 2024, and whether that could mean running for president, the senator discussed with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" how he voted in favor of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The bill passed and was signed into law last August, after Manchin made headlines in July for striking the deal that he did with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). In return for the conservative Democrat providing his support that was necessary to get the bill passed, promises were made about Manchin's plans for permitting reforms. After weeks of headlines about how those plans were falling apart, though, in large part thanks to Manchin's fellow Democrats, Manchin had Schumer remove permitting reforms from the continuing resolution (CR) in September. 

After discussing Manchin's plans for 2024, and whether that will involve endorsing President Joe Biden for reelection or perhaps even running against him, Todd found the perfect segue for bringing up the IRA. "Do you think Joe Biden lied to you," Todd asked Manchin, as Manchin had raised concerns that the law is "going a different direction" than intended. 

While Manchin claimed "I'm not saying that the president lied to me," he did go on to further highlight how the IRA is not only misnamed, but doesn't do as Democrats claimed. "I'm saying that basically, what we agreed on, the president and I agreed on, that what this bill would do, it would give us energy security. It would bring manufacturing back to America as quickly as possible. We would not be relying on foreign supply chain, such as China, to run our transportation mode. We talked about all of that. We would pay down debt for the first time in 20 years. We talked about all of that. We agreed exactly that's what it should do. And now to have different parts of his administration basically administering it, and writing rules and regulation that are totally foreign to what we did, is wrong. And I'm going to fight that," he added.

With what Manchin offered next, though, suggests he may have far too much hope in this administration. "You need to speak truth to power, but basically hold people accountable. And I'm hopeful that the president will step forward and tell his administration, 'We will follow the law. We will do what the bill was intended to do.'"

It's worth reminding that even Manchin himself admitted last August that the bill would do nothing to "immediately" lower prices. He still voted for it anyway.

No matter what kind of acknowledgements that Manchin may be making now, it may be too little too late ahead of 2024. The Democrats' only hope of holding onto Manchin's seat is if he runs for reelection and runs as a Democrat, especially as incumbency advantage still means something. Even if he does run though, this race serves as one of the greatest chances Republicans have at picking up a seat when it comes to a map that is already looking to very heavily favor them. 

Manchin lamenting that he had gotten it wrong, as our friends at Twitchy highlighted, did not go unnoticed by the GOP, with the RNC Research account tweeting out a clip of Manchin's above exchange with Todd. 

Manchin was even more clear cut in his conversation with host Shannon Bream on "Fox News Sunday," as the two discussed an op-ed the senator had written for the Wall Street Journal published on March 29, "Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act Betrayal."

Here's some excerpts worth highlighting, which again, highlight how naive Manchin may have been, even as his piece also mentions suggestions that Biden can take:

...While all parties have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith, recent actions make clear to me that the Biden administration is determined to pursue an ideological agenda rather than confront the clear and present danger that debts and deficits pose to our nation.


Yet instead of implementing the law as intended, unelected ideologues, bureaucrats and appointees seem determined to violate and subvert the law to advance a partisan agenda that ignores both energy and fiscal security. Specifically, they are ignoring the law’s intent to support and expand fossil energy and are redefining “domestic energy” to increase clean-energy spending to potentially deficit-breaking levels. The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed. Ignoring the debt and deficit implications of these actions as the time nears to raise the debt ceiling isn’t only wrong, it’s policy and political malpractice.

I believe the only person who can rein in this extremism is Mr. Biden.


Mr. Biden was elected to lead us all to solve problems. We can’t allow them to be made worse by ignoring them. The president has the power, today, to direct his administration to follow the law, as well as to sit down with congressional leaders and negotiate meaningful, serious reforms to the federal budget. Failing to do so may score political points with left-wing partisans, but generations of Americans will ultimately pay the price. We must do better, and it starts with all of us working together and doing what is right for our nation.

The senator continued his harsh words for the administration when speaking to Bream, telling her he's "very, very disappointed in how they have interpreted a piece of legislation," which "is not how it was written. It was the intent. It was not the agreement that President Biden and I had." Manchin nevertheless still hopes that Biden "intervenes" though. 

It looks then as if Manchin's fellow Democrats have broken another agreement they had with him then. 

Bream also shared the painful truth brought up by Ed Morrissey at our sister site of Hot Air, as he addressed the WSJ op-ed. In doing so, Morrissey pointed out that it's "impossible" for him to distance himself from the IRA and if he wants to talk about "political malpractice," then "maybe he should look in the mirror."

Manchin was adamant that the charge was "ridiculous," but a takeaway from the op-ed and his Sunday show appearances remains that the may have had far too much faith in his fellow Democrats. "I mean from the standpoint, we write pieces of legislation. We expect the administration to adhere to the intent and how we wrote it. It's in the bill. Read the law. So, anybody who has that opinion has not read the bill. What we have to do now, we have a process, so we can hold their feet accountable," Manchin continued with. 

As he faces a tough reelection battle, perhaps West Virginia voters are the ones who will "hold [Manchin's] feet accountable."

Manchin could very well lose his seat in part due to such a vote, only to have gotten nothing in return. He may soon learn his lesson, if he hasn't already, but by that point it could be too little too late if Manchin finds himself out of a job. 


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