Monday was a press conference by Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democratic from West Virginia. He spoke out about his grievances over negotiations regarding the reconciliation bill. This bill has been held hostage for months. It was then cut in half.
The right-wing senator said that he wanted the bipartisan legislation on infrastructure to pass immediately. He also asked Congress to delay the reconciliation package. Despite Manchin largely getting his way on the reconciliation bill, cutting it down from what the public, the president, and most of the Democratic caucus wanted, he wouldn’t commit to voting for the bill.
“In my view, this is not how the United States Congress should operate,” Manchin said, adding that “the political games have to stop.” He also said that waiting to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill until after the reconciliation bill passes the Senate would not sway him toward voting for the reconciliation bill.
Congress has been engaged in months of deadlock over the reconciliation and infrastructure bills that were originally proposed by the White House in the spring — a stalemate that has been driven almost entirely by Manchin.
The infrastructure bill was reduced from $2.25 Trillion in new spending due to the efforts of a bipartisan team of senators, led partly by Manchin. $550 billion is a small amount. The reconciliation bill, originally a $6 Trillionbill, then a $3.5 billion bill, was also reduced; after intense months-long negotiations the latest White House draft has the price tag set at $1.75 Trillion.
“I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to [the national debt],” the lawmaker said. “Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt.”
Manchin has said that he’s hesitant to vote for the bill when programs like Social Security and Medicare are underfunded — even though he didn’t cosponsor a recent billThat would modernize Social Security. Fund the program for a longer time.
Despite the fact that the bill now costs $1.5 trillion less than his $6 trillion price tag, it still has a lot to go. $10 TrillionManchin claimed that his colleagues were not willing to negotiate in the spirit that progressives desired. “While I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise, it’s obvious: compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress,” he said. “It’s all or nothing. And their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything.”
This statement is ironic because progressive lawmakers have already made significant compromises on their priorities in negotiations. While progressive lawmakers have had to compromise down from $8.25 trillion or $4.25 trillion for this new framework, Manchin only has to give up $250 billion — or about $25 billion a year, a mere drop in the bucket for the U.S. government.
Colleagues like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have condemned Manchin’s opaque negotiating strategyHe has kept his demands from both colleagues as well as the public under wraps.
Manchin’s statements about his desires for the bill have been riddled with inconsistencies. Though the West Virginia senator seems to be a deficit hawk when it comes to social or climate spending, that’s merely an excuse to work against whatever proposals he or his lobbyist allies want to kill.
Manchin has been in close collaboration with Exxon lobbyists. Important climate provisions were carvedOut of Both bills, and has fought To apply for means testing provisions that improve quality of life for everyday people, like the child tax credit — or to cut the programs entirely. He also tried to add a work requirement for paid leaveThis applies even though the person taking the paid leave would have to have a job that allows them to take off.
Now, the lawmaker once again suggesting that the reconciliation bill be separated from the infrastructure bill, even though — or perhaps because — progressives have pointed out that delaying The reconciliation bill couldThis can lead to its ruin.
Of course, when provisions that Manchin favors have the potential to increase the deficit, he doesn’t say a word.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the infrastructure bill Manchin wants to pass immediately would add to the cost of the bill. About $260 billionThe deficit, or approximately half of the new spending proposed by the bill, is what he opposed. This amount has not been commented on by the senator. He has also opposed popular revenue-raisers like Increase taxes on the wealthy, corporationsDespite the fact the reconciliation bill would raise almost enough money to pay for the $3.5 trillion framework,
The West Virginia coal baron has fought hard for coal and fossil fuel spending. He was recently elected to the Board of Directors. Subvention for oil and gas in the amount of $775 millionAdded to the bill and has been fighting for at least $121 billion worth of subsidies for the industry — a move that has been praised by the coal industry. “I think the positive news for the people in the coal business, it looks like, Senator Manchin’s been successful [in cutting climate provisions],” a coal producer CEO said last week in an earnings call.