Virtually everything that the left has predicted would happen to the reconciliation bill has happened or is in the process of unfolding. No matter how much of it we might have seen coming, that hasn’t made watching it occur in real time any less infuriating or, frankly, painful. Among those who has earned the left’s ire is none other than West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, who has happily served as an active barrier to virtually any progress the left might like to see under the Biden administration.
Of course, he never ceases to kick it up a notch.
From the moment the bipartisan infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill route were decided upon, it was obvious to anyone who follows politics that lawmakers like Manchin were going to do everything they could to torpedo the reconciliation bill if they were able to. One of the key pieces of leverage that the left has in the slim majority in congress was securing the agreement that the reconciliation bill would be voted upon first or at the same time as the bipartisan infrastructure bill to ensure that didn’t happen.
Originally, the bill was supposed to be $6 trillion, then was whittled down to $3.5 as the compromise that was originally agreed upon, and now, thanks largely to Joe Biden’s weakness and unwillingness to fight, stands at Joe Manchin’s preferred figure of around $1.75. Not only that, but Manchin and Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema have succeeded in gutting the bill of paid family leave, negotiations for drug prices, key climate provisions, and tuition free community college. Virtually all that is left is universal pre-k for the simple reason that the donor class wants parents back to work, some scaled back climate policies, and a means tested daycare program.
Still, even with all the concessions, lawmakers like Manchin and Sinema have not committed to voting for the reconciliation bill.
Last week, Nancy Pelosi met with the progressive caucus to urge them to, as predicted, vote for the bipartisan bill so that it could pass before the President went overseas. Of course, that meant that it would be before the reconciliation bill was voted upon, and she was quite literally kicked out of the meeting in response.
Of course, the only guarantee they had was Biden’s confidence that Manchin and Sinema would back the bill. After everything that has occurred, they’re simply expected to take his word for it. Well, as expected, Manchin himself decided to come out and publicly refuse to commit.
Not only that, he decided to take to the press to demand progressives give in.
At the press conference, Manchin said:
“I’ve worked in good faith for months with all of my colleagues to find a middle ground on a fiscally responsible piece of legislation that fixes the flaws of the 2017 Trump tax bill that I thought was weighted far, far to the high end earners, and the needs of the American families and children. However, as more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games. Budget gimmicks that makes the real cost of the so called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full time is run out. If you extended it permanently, and that we haven’t spoken about. This is a recipe for economic crisis…well I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise but it’s obvious, compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in congress. It’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything. Enough is enough.”Sen. Joseph Manchin– W. Virginia
The sheer gaslighting. The unmitigated gall. The nerve of this multi-millionaire to get up in front of the cameras and outright lie to the American people the way he did is enough to make you sick. This bill is a shell of what it once was. A shell. And yet he pretends as though it is the progressives who aren’t compromising, who are saying ‘all or nothing’? We are in this position because in spite of the concessions that have been made to him, he is still unwilling to commit to voting for this bill. He succeeded in getting the bill so scaled back it has reached the point where many of us on the left are urging the progressive lawmakers to abandon it altogether, and Manchin has the audacity to go on camera, finger wag, and say “enough is enough”.
As I have said now countless times before, if Manchin succeeds with this behavior then democrats absolutely deserve the political bloodbath they have coming to them in upcoming elections. If this is the man that democrats have decided will act as the de facto president, then I want no part of it. Manchin’s right, I suppose. Enough really is enough. These are not minor disagreements over a spending bill. This is open political warfare over the future of the democratic party, and Manchin is working as hard as he can to alienate the left as much as humanly possible.
Is this what people voted for in 2020? Is this the type of leadership that organizers moved mountains for? Is this what Arizona and Georgia flipped blue for? I’m not sure what else there is to say about Manchin that hasn’t already said, but we should be thoroughly embarrassed by the fact that this was the path chosen by a democratic party that was handed the house, the senate, and the white house.
They’re really going to demand we move mountains again, aren’t they?
I don’t have the time or the energy to dwell on the anger. At this point if he succeeds, then good luck in 2022. The American people certainly don’t deserve what’s coming, but nothing would give me more pleasure than to see a party as weak, feckless, and corrupt as the democratic party get what it deserves.