It’s hard to believe that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) put up such a stink about not going along with Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, in large measure because of inflation, but then, just as we hit a recession, he goes along with a junior version of it. Not only that, but he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have the nerve to call it the “Inflation Reduction Act”–when it doesn’t do anything to reduce inflation and may, in the short term, make inflation even worse.
I’m not sure what made him sell his soul, but he hit the Sunday shows trying to justify himself, and it didn’t go over well.
On CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper,” Manchin gave us some typical Democrat spin on how we should be thinking about this bill.
It’s “a great opportunity. It’s not a Democrat bill, it’s not a Republican bill, it’s definitely not a ‘green’ bill, it’s a red, white and blue bill,” he claimed. Yuck, one of the things that made Manchin interesting was he tended to speak plainly; this is grade-A, Barack Obama-level spin.
He argued that there wasn’t anything “inflammatory” in the bill that would blow up inflation, despite the greater spending in the bill. He said he “didn’t want to disappoint people again.” But yet, you are. And it shouldn’t be about “disappointing people,” it should be about what’s best for the country–and this isn’t it.
Manchin said he had spoken to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) about the bill, but based on what he said, it sounds like he doesn’t know if she’s on board either; although, he tried to argue that they weren’t raising taxes, which she was against. “I think that, basically, when she looks at the bill and sees the whole spectrum of what we’re doing and all of the energy we’re bringing in all of the reduction of prices and fighting inflation by bringing prices down, by having more energy, hopefully, she will be positive about it,” Manchin declared. “But she will make her decision. And I respect that.”
Manchin tried to argue on “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” that they weren’t raising taxes by setting a 15 percent minimum corporate tax.
Todd also asked him a good question about permitting reform, which was the reason he went along with this. But the vote would go first on this and not on the permitting. So, what guarantee is there that Schumer would come through on the back end, if they already got the vote they wanted? Manchin said they had committed to him, and there would be “consequences” if they didn’t hold to their commitments.
Maybe, but as I noted, once they have him on the hook, they can just blow off the commitments to him because they’ll be pressed by the left. The permitting reform is helpful to the energy industry–and that clashes with their ultimate climate goals.
Todd asked Manchin if he wanted the Democrats to keep control of the House and the Senate [after the November elections].
Manchin’s answer was interesting. He didn’t say “yes.”
You know, I’m not making those choices or decisions on that. I’m going to work with whatever I have. I’ve always said that. I think the Democrats have great candidates that are running. They’re good people I’ve worked with. And I have a tremendous amount of respect and friendship with my Republican colleagues. So I can work on either side very easily.
As we reported earlier, he also didn’t commit to supporting Joe Biden for 2024.
But if he thought he was appealing to Republicans or reaching across the aisle with these words, I don’t think they’re feeling very kindly toward him after he shafted them on this bill.
Manchin also hit “Fox New Sunday” with Bret Baier; that’s where he got some real questions and got called on the carpet with his own prior words about not raising taxes during a recession.
“I don’t think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes or increase any taxes,” Manchin had previously said in 2010, and he repeated that thought earlier in July. Yet, this raises taxes, Baier said, according to multiple assessments. You can see Manchin looking like a deer caught in the headlights, denying that it does.
The bottom line is he sold out. Let’s hope that Sinema is made of sterner stuff, but, sadly, we’re in this position of having to rely on Democrats sticking to principles–which certainly is a precarious thing on which to bet.