It’s a day that ends in y, so that means Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia impedes some legislation. This time, his gaze is turned towards the Build Back Better Act–the “will they or won’t they” reconciliation bill that the White House hoped to get passed before the holiday recess. President Joe Biden recently conceded that is his major piece of legislation wouldn’t get done until next year. If, at all.
But there is hope for it, right? Surely, we’ll do the right thing and invest in things like climate change, the middle class, and child poverty? The Build Back Better act passed in the House on November 21st and is racing up to the Sena....oh, wait.
So, Sen. Manchin is determined to deliver a lump of coal (which is a double entendre given per Salon, he’s taken a considerable amount of money from the coal industry)
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Manchin said this according to The N.Y. Times:
‘“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Mr. Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday,” citing concerns about adding to the national debt, rising inflation and the spread of the latest coronavirus variant. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”
Never mind that the Build Back Better deal was initially slated to be $3.5 trillion but cut down to $1.9 trillion to appease the senator’s concerns. Never mind that in West Virginia, the state that Sen. Manchin represents ranks #47th in healthcare, #45th in education, #48th in economy, and 50th in infrastructure.
His Senate colleges, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, were unhappy with this sudden about-face. Per his appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he stated:
“West Virginia is one of the poorest states in this country. You got elderly people and disabled people who would like to stay at home. He’s going to have to tell the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t want to expand Medicare to cover dental hearing and eyeglasses.”
House Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts also offered thoughts on “State of the Union”:
These are the things that Sen. Manchin chooses to work against for reference. Some of the benefits of the Build Back Better Act include:
- Universal pre-k for all three and four-year-olds
- One more year of the expanded child tax credit
- $35 limit on the cost of insult
- Extends the Affordable Care Act subsidies for another year seen in the American Rescue Plan, where people saw premiums as small as $0 a month.
- A year of Medicare coverage for new mothers
- $105 billion to address extreme weather
- $150 to invest in affordable housing
There was a paid family leave provision, but guess who insisted it be taken out? Just a note that America is one of six countries with no paid leave. Sen. Manchin assists on bipartisanship but has not fruitful things to show for it. His election compromise bill sure didn’t work. Instead of Congress doing something for the betterment of the American people, we are engaged in the “will Manchin or won’t Manchin” like a twisted episode of The Bachelor. Instead of a romantic partner, it’s legislation that gets a rose (or a vote).
Technically, the Build Back Better deal is still alive. It hasn’t been put to an actual vote in the Senate yet, but who knows when that will be.
Where are we now? All we know is that the child tax credit ends this month, and there’s no movement on making climate change a priority. Minnesota just had their first December tornadoes. Not to forget the devastation that happened in Kentucky. Sen. Manchin also mentions that he’ll have to go back to West Virginia and explain things.
How will he explain ending a vital child tax credit while we are staring down another COVID-19 surge? It’s the same credit that has helped 65 million children across the U.S. His own state supports the passage of the Build Back Better Act. In a recent article from Huffpost, it’s stated that he “has told his colleagues that he essentially doesn’t trust low-income people to spend government money wisely.” At least Manchin will have the holidays from his yacht to think of ways to cipher attention in the new year.