It’s hard to understand what really motivates Joe Manchin, I mean besides making money and self preservation, because he could have benefitted both of those things by backing Biden’s Build Back Better bill. It can’t just be what he makes in campaign contributions or with his coal business. He would have been able to make out either way he voted on this one.
West Virginia made out great in the infrastructure bill and he would’ve gotten even more in BBB. So what’s his hang up? It’s not whatever he’s saying because what he’s been saying has been a convoluted mess. He’s the guy who said he wouldn’t vote for anything that wasn’t paid for. Well the infrastructure bill he created isn’t paid for and he blocked all options to pay for the BBB, that’s why it’s already half of what it is supposed to be. People keep saying well he’s been consistent. I suppose he’s been consistently looking for any excuse to shut down the Build Back Better bill and it’s social investments. If that’s what they mean then sure, he’s been consistent.
Also, we should really recap what just happened with the two bills, infrastructure and BBB, because it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on. The progressives in the House and Senate, as well as all of the moderates (Manchin is not a moderate or a centrist), agreed to vote for the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill that Manchin put together as long as he voted for their BBB bill that dealt with everything else. The “bipartisan” bill was always supposed to be smaller because it was only the stuff republicans would agree to and they only agreed to things on their own terms. There was very little compromise on their part in the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill.
If you haven’t figured it out I’m calling it the quote unquote “bipartisan” infrastructure bill because it was only meant to exist so democrats could give the republicans an olive branch and try to prove that they reached across the aisle. It’s a bill that never would have passed with any sort of democratic majority support. It only passed, let me repeat that, it only passed, one more time so it sinks in, IT ONLY PASSED because the majority of democrats were under the impression that the ultra conservative branch of their party (doesn’t that sound more correct than centrist), a total of 9 house members and 2 senators, would then pass the other bill, the BBB. That bill had the support of every other democratic congressperson, about 264 in total. That’s 264 to 11. By the way if you counted how many people they represent you’d be looking at something like 177 million to about 7.4 million people respectively. The democrats already represent about 40 million more Americans than the republicans which is about 185 million people.
And now it appears that the only holdout to sticking with that original bargain is Joe Manchin, the other 10 have been swayed. Manchin says he never agreed to those terms. Well maybe, but for some reason everyone else was under the impression that he did. And they are now in the uncomfortable position of not badmouthing him because, as he has stated, that will definitely kill the deal. He can say whatever he wants, and he has, but they can’t. So we’ll hear all about it in January when it’s announced that he finally admits he’ll never vote for anything.
However there is one thing happening that can change the equation. 346,000 kids are getting kicked off the child tax credit program this week. And there is a groundswell of complaining happening across his state. Sure plenty of local pundits are saying he’s doing a good thing, but plenty of nonprofits and local news sources are saying the opposite. Turns out when you lift 40-50% of the kids out of poverty the ramifications are felt quickly. The money spent on food, clothing, transportation, health care, child care and so many other things are helping local economies.
So Manchin wants to kick this out until January or February of 2022. Hopefully that will allow the time needed to pressure him inside of West Virginia. However, I opened this by saying that it can’t just be campaign contributions and coal money, there has to be something else. Well, unfortunately, there is one big incentive for Manchin, and it’s dark. As Republicans race to take back the House to end an inquiry into the failed coup of 2020 so they can effectively end Democracy as we know it lot’s of people are hedging their bets. One of those people may very well be Joe Manchin.
Consider this. Mitch McConnell said today that Manchin delaying the BBB bill is the best Christmas present that the government can give working families. And by working families he means the republicans and their effort to end democracy. And that’s how Joe Manchin wins and the whole country, including 37 million children, lose.