Earlier this week Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia continued to be the mess of a menace to the Biden administration, particularly the $2 trillion Build Back Better bill. This would not be a grave concern if the senate was not 50-50, thereby making his vote so pivotal.
Manchin’s opposition has long been a problem on climate change, but here lately he has taken a stand against the Child Tax Credit, which expired on Dec. 15, leaving millions of Americans deprived of the $300 monthly allotment. His reluctance, as a Democrat, to go along with the party line has flummoxed his colleagues but it is consistent with his aim to please his donors from the coal, gas, and oil industry—to say nothing of his personal investments on these energy matters.
His opposition to the Child Tax Credit is on the unsubstantiated grounds that the recipients would use the payments to buy drugs, according to sources familiar with his comments. More directly, his rationalization of resistance was based on the nation’s debt and inflation.
“I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation,” he said in a statement last Sunday. “My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”
A White House response to his remarks contradicted what he had previously stated. “Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on Fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the president and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” White House Secretary Jen Psaki said.
In private conversations, according to the Huffington Post, Manchin said he believed paid family leave would be exploited by Americans to go hunting during deer season, especially in his home state. This report was countered by his spokesperson who noted that “Senator Manchin has made clear he supports the Child Tax Credit and believes the money should be targeted to those who need it most. He has also expressed support for a paid leave program that has a dedicated, sustainable funding mechanism.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, President Biden and Sen. Manchin met after Manchin’s appearance on Fox News, in what was described as a cordial meeting.
One thing seems predictable, Manchin will flip flop on issues and find every justification to block Biden’s plans, even if some of his reasonings are absolutely outrageous and reprehensible.