Barbara Sprunt reports for NPR today:
Sen. Joe Manchin has announced he cannot yet support the $1.75 trillion framework for President Biden’s social spending package that congressional Democrats were hoping to push through this week.
“I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy and, most importantly, all of our American people," the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement Monday afternoon.
I feel like she could have written this article any day this year, since Joe Biden was inaugurated. Sen. Joe Manchin is destined to be the Joe Lieberman of 2021. Like Lieberman, who killed the ACA’s “public option” to protect his insurance company donors in Connecticut, Manchin will be responsible for neutering the most impactful legislation since the ACA, all because of a price tag that is (1) going to be spread out over a decade; (2) will represent a tiny percentage of GDP over that period; and (3) has been cut in half since this spring. Point 1 is just the standard Republican talking points about any kind of spending that isn’t a tax cut.
This rigamarole has gone so long that I don’t think the Democrats can reach him with any kind of progressive legislation. It is dangerous to anger him too much over this, too, because he could flip parties, and then the Democrats would lose the Senate. Overall, he is an untrustworthy person to negotiate with. As for the similarly “centrist” Kyrsten Sinema, she is at a whole other level of incomprehensibility, and could still be a spoiler to the Democrats even if Manchin eventually agrees to some bill. Neither one of them are fighting for anything of value for their constituents. I would be surprised if they remain in office after their next elections, no matter what they do from this point forward. It’s hyperbole, of course, but I want to say: “Never has so much been lost for so little gain.”