Who Pays for the Manchin?
Say it ain't so, Joe, but his position on the big social and environmental bill reeks of money
I’ve smelled the stench of the Washington cesspool, but this is among the most nauseating. West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin now says he won’t support Biden’s “Build Back Better” social and environmental package.
He delivered his deathblow on Fox News Sunday, after refusing to take Joe Biden’s phone call presumably asking him not to make the announcement.
The reasons Manchin gave are absurd. He must know that.
He says he’s worried about inflation and the national debt, but Build Back Better will be paid for with tax increases on big corporations and the wealthy — so it won’t have any bearing on inflation or the debt.
He says he’s worried about the impact of the latest COVID surge on the economy, but if COVID slows the economy there’s even more justification for federal spending that strengthens social safety nets.
He says he can’t face his constituents in West Virginia without renouncing “Build Back Better.” But on a per-person basis, West Virginians would be among the biggest beneficiaries of the legislation in all America. One out of four West Virginians over 65 have no natural teeth, for example — the highest rate in the nation. Biden’s original bill provided dental benefits under Medicare.
What could possibly be motivating Manchin?
Sure, West Virginia is a coal state. But he must know there’s no long-term future in mining coal, regardless of what happens to this legislation. This legislation would, however, help West Virginians transition from coal to new and better jobs. And help them survive in the meantime.
So why did Manchin decide to blow it up?
Is it because he owns stock valued at between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems, a coal brokerage firm he founded in 1988? Last year he made half a million dollars in Enersystems dividends (roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a senator).
Or is it because he collects more campaign money from coal, oil, and gas companies than any other senator? (In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Greenpeace investigative unit that Manchin participated in weekly meetings with company operatives.)
Or is it simply because he wants the attention — the national spotlight — that goes with being the biggest spoiler in the Democratic Party?