Manchin sees his power grow
Senator Joe manchinJoe Manchin Ex-Clinton strategist: Results in Virginia show Democrats “went too left on key issues for educated suburban voters” There is a clear economic solution to climate change: Losers must bribe winners Buttigieg says the administration will continue to fight for family leave PLUS (DW.Va.) is perhaps the most powerful member of the Senate and his influence in the fight for President BidenJoe Biden’s Ortega Nicaragua Set To Win Election Amid International Criticism Representative Gosar Releases Anime Video Showing Him Hitting Biden, Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Energy & Environment – Brought to you by ExxonMobil – Campaigners cry foul over COP26 PLUS projectThe social spending and climate agenda has increased over the past week.
Manchin scored a major victory on Friday when the House passed the bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill he helped negotiate. He will provide estimated federal funding of $ 6 billion to his home state.
Progressives have held the bill in the Senate for months in an attempt to influence Manchin and other centrists in negotiations over Biden’s Build Back Better program.
But in the end, the Liberals allowed the bill to move forward after a pledge from House centrists to support a broader climate and social spending bill. The House also approved the rule establishing the debate on this measure.
Yet throughout the negotiations, this larger bill was reduced due to demands from Manchin and his centrist colleague Sen. Kyrsten SinemaStrategist Kyrsten SinemaEx-Clinton: Virginia results show Democrats “went too left on key issues for educated suburban voters” Trump to attend fundraiser for Arizona Senate candidate GOP On The Money – Brought to you by Citi – A House Divided on an Agenda PLUS (D-Arizona). And neither has fully committed to voting for the social spending and climate bill.
Manchin hailed the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday as a huge victory for his constituents.
“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation we’ve done,” he told reporters in West Virginia. “Biparty infrastructure has been tried for the past 30 years and no president has been able to do it. It’s incredible.”
He said $ 3 billion will go to state federal highway programs; nearly $ 200 million will be spent on completing Corridor H of the Appalachian Development Road Network, known in the state as the Robert C. Byrd Road Network; $ 190 million for statewide transit; $ 43 million for state airports and $ 700 million to rehabilitate abandoned mining lands.
Progressives in the Senate and House wanted to use all of these benefits for West Virginia as leverage to push Manchin to agree to ambitious proposals to tackle climate change, expand medicare, establish a national paid family leave program. and other priorities that should be part of the budget reconciliation package.
But now billions of dollars in physical infrastructure investments for West Virginia are going to be enacted by Biden, and Manchin still hasn’t signed a framework for the Build Back Better Act.
“I don’t fully understand – and I have listened to some of them interviewed – how progressives don’t feel like they’ve been cheated. This is definitely how I feel, ”said John Kilwein, professor of political science at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at the University of West Virginia.
“For a guy like Manchin, I think there was a critical piece of leverage that was taken out because he got what he wanted. The bill on traditional infrastructure will help the state, ”he added.
Manchin did not let the fate of the bipartisan infrastructure package change his negotiating positions on the reconciliation package, even though his colleagues insisted the two bills were linked.
“He negotiated the same way all the time. It was in good faith and in the hope of reaching a common sense compromise, ”said Jonathan Kott, Democratic strategist and former Manchin aide. “I think he will continue to negotiate in the same way even if the Jobs Bill has been passed.”
Kott said Manchin’s call for other Democrats to immediately pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and proceed cautiously with the $ 1.75 trillion to $ 2 trillion budget reconciliation package was backed by the last week’s election results in Virginia and New Jersey, where Republican candidates did well despite Biden winning both states comfortably last year.
“He is right that we should know exactly what this bill costs and what the long term implications are and that it is the responsible thing to do – and stay focused on doing it right instead. than to do them quickly. And I think he’s right that voters want their election officials to get things done, ”Kott added.
Manchin told his progressive House colleagues in a brutal press conference last week that their efforts to leverage him by continuing to delay the bipartisan infrastructure bill would not work.
“In my opinion, this is not how the United States Congress should work or, in my opinion, has worked in the past. Political games must stop, ”he warned last week.
Manchin pledged to continue negotiating in good faith with Senate Majority Leader Biden Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGOP looks into blocking diplomatic choices of Biden Sununu says he will decide on Senate candidacy “in next week” Christie on 2020 election: “No matter where you are, it’s over” MORE (DN.Y.) and speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi’s Expenditure Bill Faces Senate Christie’s 2020 Election Rush: “No Matter Where You Are, It’s Over” After brutal election day, Democrats make a wise comeback to the center MORE (D-Calif.) But warned that “holding” the bipartisan infrastructure “hostage will not work to gain my support for the reconciliation bill.”
He reiterated that “I will not support a reconciliation plan that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $ 29 trillion national debt that no one seems to really care or even talk about. “
Some progressives like Sen. Elizabeth warrenElizabeth WarrenFed Gov. Quarles resigns, opening seat for Biden, Democrats scramble to find way forward after electoral setbacks White House asked Senate Democrats to meet with Powell this month: MORE report (D-Mass.) Warned earlier this year that Biden’s agenda should not be split between a bill focused on hard infrastructure, a priority that enjoyed broader political support, and a second focused on social spending programs which are higher priorities for the Liberals.
She predicted that splitting the program into two bills could make it more difficult to unify the party behind the social spending elements of Biden’s program.
“I want to see the details of how they plan to ensure that climate issues and child care issues are not left behind. We can’t let the train leave the station and critical pieces are left on the platform, ”she said in March when Democratic leaders first launched the two-track strategy to move the agenda forward. infrastructure of Biden.
Top Liberal priorities were removed from a White House executive the president unveiled on October 28, including the $ 150 billion Clean Electricity Performance program, which Manchin feared was being used to bankruptcy coal companies, and the national paid family leave program, which Manchin worried would add significantly to the deficit.
And the framework’s proposal called for expanding Medicare benefits to cover only hearing care, leaving aside dental and vision care, in deference to Manchin’s concerns about the programs’ solvency.
Manchin has yet to approve the framework, despite significant concessions made to him.
But some moderate Democratic strategists doubt that consolidating everything into one massive infrastructure package or keeping the bipartisan infrastructure bill firmly tied to the outcome of the negotiations on the reconciliation bill would have pushed Manchin to support more social spending.
“That’s not what was going to happen. Manchin is happy to wait five more months, ”said Jim Kessler, executive vice president of policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.
Even when Democrats set a spending target of $ 3.5 trillion for the reconciliation package in the budget resolution, Kessler thought “it’s going to end at $ 2 trillion” due to resistance from Manchin and other centrists.
But Democratic strategists believe Manchin will eventually sign the reconciliation package, though it may not be until Thanksgiving week, when the Congressional Budget Office is expected to provide an official estimate of the bill’s costs, or later. .
Steve White, director of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation in Charleston, West Virginia, said that “the idea that he doesn’t want the second bill, I think, is wrong.
“I think he doesn’t want the whole second bill. Half of the second bill is a lot, ”he added of the reconciliation bill. “I can’t wait to see what it looks like and I think there will be a lot of good things for West Virginia”
White said the bipartisan infrastructure bill would have a “huge” impact on West Virginia, but said the reconciliation bill would have significant investments for the state as well.
He said spending on renewable energy, such as wind turbines, could create good job opportunities in the state.