It seems like almost forever since Cassandra of Troy — blessed with the power to predict the future, cursed by the fact that no one would believe her — has been in the news, but she’s back this week with a thunderclap and yet another, “I told you so.”
Her name this time is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and Representatives Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, and everyone else who knew and foretold that Sen. Joe Manchin would ultimately stab President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, his own state and the world in the back to keep his precious coal safe from the environmental protections contained within the Build Back Better (BBB) Act.
Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker), Chuck Schumer (Senate Majority Leader) and Joseph Biden assured the Congressional Progressive CaucusIf the caucus agreed to allow a separate vote on Infrastructure Bill, they could bring Senator Manchin with them on the BBB Act. The caucus refused to split the two, believing that it would endanger the BBB. The stalemate continued until Manchin began making threats about leaving the party. After that, it became about “acting responsibly,” and the Progressive Caucus took party leadership at their word. Manchin made Sunday’s betrayal of both the leadership team and the caucus in a move Cassandra the latest incarnation of Cassandra witnessed from way up high on the walls of Troy.
“We warned the House that this would happen when a few of us in Congress warned that Dem leaders would give Manchin everything he wanted by moving [the infrastructure bill] before BBB instead of passing together, many ridiculed our position,” Representative Ocasio-Cortez grittedFollow us on Twitter. “Maybe they’ll believe us next time. Or maybe people will just keep calling us naïve.”
Representative Pressley also contributed. “He has continued to move the goal post,” she told CNN. “He has never negotiated in good faith and he is obstructing the president’s agenda.”
Bush also saw what was coming. “We have been saying this, for weeks, that this would happen,” she told MSNBC, “having [BBB and infrastructure bills]The only leverage we had was when they were used together. And what did the caucus do about it? We tossed it.”
Manchin said that the BBB Act was a threat to the country rather than a small dose the medicine it desperately needed. He cited COVID-19, inflation as reasons for his decision. Representative Omar disagreed.
“We all knew that Senator Manchin couldn’t be trusted,” Omar told MSNBC. “The excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bullshit. It is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of West Virginia because that’s a complete lie. West Virginia’s residents would be greatly benefited if they had access to long-term elder care and care for people with disabilities. They would benefit from the expansion of the child tax credits.”
This is a good thing. “West Virginia is the second-poorest U.S. state, with a $48,850 median household income and a poverty rate of 17.54 percent,” accordingTo World Population Review.
The BBB Act contained an expansion of the child credit. This credit has helped millions of children across the country to escape poverty over the past year. In West Virginia,The lapse of the credit — a foregone conclusion with Manchin’s decision — could plunge 50,000 children back into poverty. “One in five West Virginia children is estimated to live in poverty,” reports the Associated Press, “and 93 percent of children in the state are eligible for the [tax credit] payments, tied for the highest rates in the country.”
“So that’s where the United States of America is now,” reports The New Republic, “behind Mongolia and all those other countries, all because of one man — and the power that is given to him by the structure of our national legislature. West Virginia will continue to fall behind. And Joe Manchin can watch it all unfold through the windows of his Maserati.”
There is apparently direct evidence to the effect of Representative Omar’s conclusion that the excuses Manchin made “are complete bullshit.” According to several Senate colleagues, Manchin “essentially doesn’t trust low-income people to spend government money wisely,” reports HuffPost. “In recent months, Manchin has told several of his fellow Democrats that he thought parents would waste monthly child tax credit payments on drugs instead of providing for their children, according to two sources familiar with the senator’s comments. Manchin’s private comments shocked several senators, who saw it as an unfair assault on his own constituents and those struggling to raise children in poverty.”
And the penny keeps dropping. The great inflation fighter, cost cutter, and responsible one in a sea leftist binge-spending is revealed to be just another 1 per center who hates those who elected him, but loves the power they grant him. Maybe this dramatic break with his party means he’ll bail on the Democrats, become an Independent, and run for president, right? There’s chatter about it.
It all boils down to the same old hatred for the poor and working-class, the same complete indifference towards the stones they carry every day. This is the bottom of it all. the coal, of course. Always the coal.