Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Manchin says his spending limit is $1.5 trillion on the reconciliation bill, not even half the compromise($3.5 trillion down from $6 trillion). Reading from the Republican Party script, he said spending any more would "change our whole society to an entitlement mentality." He also said-- reading his Oil and Gas industry talking points-- that he's "all for clean energy, but I am also for producing the amount of energy that we need to make sure that we have reliability," meaning natural gas.
After publicly lying this week that there was no agreement or deal about the conservative hard infrastructure and the reconciliation bills, he announced to reporters today that he signed a memorandum of understanding with Schumer at the end of July setting $1.5 trillion as his spending limit for social spending and now insists he did so as a precondition for voting for the Senate budget resolution in August. So he voted for the budget resolution which included the $3.5 trillion spending target because, he told reporters, he didn’t want to be "a fly in the ointment." Not a word about what West Virginia residents want. He also told reporters that he's "never been a liberal in any way, shape or form. No one ever thought I was. I’ve been governor, I’ve been secretary of state, I’ve been state legislator, I’ve been U.S. senator and I have voted pretty consistently my whole life."
Pramila seems to not find his proposal adequate and noted that "The Build Back Better Act is not some fringe list of policy priorities. The conservative Democrats who oppose paid leave, child care, pre-K, climate action, lowering prescription drug prices, and Medicare expansion oppose what the people of this country want. It’s no coincidence that those few people who are opposing these policies take huge sums of campaign money from corporate PACs, Big Pharma, and fossil fuel companies." Manchin doesn't support most of that but he especially doesn't support taxing the rich to pay for it.
Elizabeth Warren backed Pramila: "What we’ve all talked about as Democrats are the things we need to get done and we need to do that with a realistic price tag. We are all Democrats and we know what we need to get done. Everything on that list is something we all want."
I suppose the compromise now would be to cut the bill back to 5 years instead of 10. That makes Manchin's proposal more palatable, but it isn't something they can get done today. Soon.
Manchin told progressives to go elect more progressives if they expect to pass progressive legislation because his priorities are different from theirs and, basically he isn't willing to make the trade between his shitty infrastructure bill and their social spending. That's a good idea and there are 4 progressive candidates for Senate you can contribute to by clicking on the 2022 Senate thermometer on the left. That will negate the power Manchin and Sinema, two of Congress' most corrupt members-- with massive bribe takers-- have to tank anything that is remotely progressive or that suggests the wealthy pay their fair share.
But it isn't just true in the Senate. I spoke with 3 progressives running for House seats help by conservative Democrats in solid blue districts. Mike Ortega, who's running for an Orange County seat held by reactionary Blue Dog Lou Correa, told me that "When Manchin says he doesn’t want 'to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality,' what he really means is that he is not on the side of his constituents in West Virginia (one of the poorest states)-- instead, he’s on the side of corporations that are polluting our planet. We’re used to these lies-- we get it here in CA-46, where my opponent Lou Correa has fought against life-saving provisions in the reconciliation bill in favor of the profits of pharmaceutical corporations. In reality, these conservative Democrats want to remain entitled themselves-- they don’t want to save the planet or make housing and healthcare more affordable and accessible. They want to give themselves and their wealthy friends tax breaks (i.e. the SALT tax cap repeals they’re fighting for now that would hand half a trillion dollars to the 1 percent). We keep getting told our movement is irrational when we’re fighting to combat the climate crisis that threatens all life here on Earth-- and we see the truth, as clear as day. This is a fight against destructive corruption."
Shervin Aazami's opponent, San Fernando Valley status quo congressman Brad Sherman, just does whatever Pelosi and Hoyer tell him to do. Aazami is a natural born leader and he told me he's exhausted of the Sinema-Manchin show. "The American people are exhausted of minority rule. The Build Back Better plan was originally $6 trillion. In other words, $3.5 trillion was already supposed to be the compromise. And let's be perfectly clear-- there is no compromise on universal child care, paid family leave, climate action, public housing, and healthcare coverage. That is not what the American people want. In fact, over two-thirds of Americans support Biden's Build Back Better plan. What is more important to Manchin? The demands of lobbyists and the corporations that finance his campaign, or the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people? Let's put it another way-- if a two-thirds majority is enough to overcome a filibuster in the U.S. Senate, then two-thirds support from the American people should be enough to overcome the intransigence of two conversative senators."
Jason Call has a similar situation to Shervin's-- a do-nothing corporatist in a solid blue district who mostly does what Pelosi and Hoyer (and the lobbyists) want. In fact, his opponent, Rick Larsen, is a former lobbyist himself. "If ever there was a scenario that presents the case for abolition of the aristocratic US Senate, what Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are doing right now is it. But let’s not forget that Manchin’s behavior is buoyed by not only his corporate donors in the fossil fuel industry, but by the Biden administration’s failure to exert pressure, including calling for overturning the long-abused filibuster, and refusing to implement measures that would eliminate the debt ceiling as a political football. As I’ve said before, can you imagine LBJ putting up with nonsense from a senator from one of the least populous and most right-wing of all states in the Union? I think not. Manchin is proving himself an enemy to the working class, an enemy to the environment, and an enemy to the Democratic Party. Let’s not forget that all of this is against the backdrop of Manchin’s daughter being found guilty of price gouging over insulin in her position as CEO of EpiPen manufacturer Mylan. Joe Manchin is corrupt as they come, and it’s time the American people recognize it for what it is, and it’s not just Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, it’s every elected politician that works for their corporate donors over the public good."
If you agree with Jason, Shervin and Mike, please avail yourself of the 2022 Blue America congressional thermometer above and contribute what you can to their campaigns.