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Thomas Gallatin / November 2, 2021

Manchin Draws a Line in the Sand

The West Virginia senator declares that he won’t vote for Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill without infrastructure.

In his Inaugural Address, Joe Biden championed himself as a unifier who could unify a divided nation with so much unity. But now, almost a year since his election, not only has Biden done nothing to unify the country, he can’t even unify his own party around his political agenda.

For months, congressional Democrats have been trying to ram through Biden’s massive social spending legislation via reconciliation in an effort to avoid having to compromise with Republicans. Furthermore, House Democrats, now clearly being dominated by the party’s extreme Left, have steadfastly refused to pass the Senate’s bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package, known as BIF, a deal that several Senate Republicans agreed to support with the expectation that the House would act in kind and pass it.

But House Democrats decided to condition passage of the infrastructure bill upon the Senate agreeing to pass the far Left’s massive social spending bill, originally priced at $3.5 trillion and now down to $1.75 trillion thanks to even more accounting gimmicks than the original. However, two Democrat senators have proven to be thorns in the side of the Democrats seeing their radical agenda through to Biden’s desk.

Just yesterday, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who has been surprisingly firm in his stance against his party’s socialist agenda, and who has suffered repeated harassment from leftist activists for it, drew an unambiguous line in the sand. He declared that he will not vote on the massive social spending bill until the House votes on BIF.

Furthermore, Manchin insisted that the real cost of the Democrats’ social spending bill must be clearly delineated and understood. Essentially, Manchin called out his party colleagues for gaming the bill to make it look more affordable. “Throughout the last three months,” he stated, “I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our nearly $29 trillion in national debt that no one else seems to care about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation.”

He wasn’t finished. “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,” Manchin observed. “This is a recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever misrepresent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is.”

Manchin then threw down the proverbial gauntlet: “It is time to vote on the BIF bill — up or down — and then go home and explain to your constituents the decision you made. … Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy, and the American people.”

Predictably, Manchin’s declaration quickly invited the heat. “Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country,” blustered extreme leftist Representative Cori Bush (D-BLM). “I do not trust his assessment of what our communities need the most. I trust parents in my district who can’t get to their shift without childcare. I trust the scientists who have shown us what our future will look like if we fail to meaningfully address the climate crisis. I trust the patients and doctors crying out for comprehensive health coverage for every person in America.” She then flung the nonsense accusations Democrats typically reserve for Republicans by ridiculously asserting, “Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant.”

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the architect of the larger spending bill, sought to gaslight Manchin’s spending concerns by suggesting that it was he who was playing games. “The fact is,” Sanders asserted, “that, according to the CBO [Congressional Budge Office], the infrastructure bill runs up to a $250 billion deficit. It’s not paid for. The legislation that I wanna see passed … is paid for in its entirety. It will not have an impact on inflation. So if we’re talking about fiscal responsibility, I think what we’re trying to do with the reconciliation bill is the right thing.”

Despite what Bush and Sanders claim, Manchin is correct in his assessment. The framework of the Democrats’ social spending bill has not been fully filled in and the CBO has yet to provide a cost estimate (though even that is garbage in, garbage out). However, as Manchin concludes, the notion that the social spending bill would even come close to the current claimed $1.75 trillion price tag is disingenuous.

Manchin’s stand against Biden’s “Build Back Better” spending bonanza is likely supported by the fact that Biden’s polling numbers are in a nose dive, as is especially the case in West Virginia. Furthermore, the vast majority of Americans believe he is taking the country in the wrong direction. Manchin sees disaster ahead and is refusing to put his stamp of approval on it. Why hook himself to a disastrous piece of legislation that only promises economic disaster?

(Updated.)

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