Killing off the Zombie again: Joe Manchin drives another stake into Biden's Build Back Better agenda
It was the thing that wouldn't die, the thing that wouldn't go away...
No, not the Halloween zombies and vampires, but Joe Biden's once, twice, now thrice dead Build Back Better agenda — with its twin porkulus infrastructure and social spending bills. It seems to have gotten the stake again from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. The guy just doesn't want it.
According to the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pivotal Sen. Joe Manchin wavered on his support for President Joe Biden's sweeping $1.75 trillion domestic policy proposal, but Democratic leaders vowed to push ahead, with initial voting possible on the bill and a related $1 trillion infrastructure package in the House this week.
The West Virginia Democrat's announcement Monday came as Democrats wanted assurances from Manchin that he will support Biden's big package. He's one of two key holdout senators whose votes are needed to secure the deal and push it toward passage.
His reasoning suggests that he's actually read the $1-trillion infrastructure bill, which he supports, and the now-$1.7-trillion "reconciliation bill" of social spending, and has found it to be a lot costlier than Democrats are claiming — so costly, in fact, that he calls it a "recipe for economic crisis."
According to this Wall Street Journal editorial:
Democrats aren't even waiting for the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Taxation Committee to "score" their bill. They simply want to assert that it costs $1.75 trillion when everyone knows that the real cost will be at least twice that given the program phaseouts, phase-ins, and buck-passing to the states. This is fly-by-night legislating that the press corps would be denouncing if Republicans did it.
On Monday Sen. Manchin brought some much-needed reality to this circus by calling out the progressive tricks. "The political games have to stop," he said of the progressive hostage strategy on the infrastructure bill. "It is time to vote on the BIF [infrastructure] bill — up or down — and then go home and explain to your constituents the decision you made." He said he won't vote for a reconciliation bill until there's a vote on infrastructure.
The West Virginia Democrat also dared to say the reconciliation bill is riding naked down the street. "As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks, that makes the real cost of the so-called 1.75 trillion dollar bill estimated to be almost twice that amount" if the programs are made permanent and not phased out, he said.
He added that "this is a recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever misrepresent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is." And he suggested he's prepared to vote against the bill if he thinks it will hurt the country by adding to the debt burden or inflationary pressures.
What we have here is a bill that should have died weeks ago, back on Sept. 30, when the first vote was supposed to have been held, and again on Oct. 28 over assorted intransigences from the progressives when the second vote was supposed to have been held. Yet this 1,600-page bill keeps coming back from the dead, each time creepier and uglier than ever as word gets out about what's actually in it.
Nothing's been done by Democrats to address the inherent problems with these bills or why they haven't managed to sail through on a vote. Fact is, they cost too much, they empower the government too much, and their main financing gimmick is to start programs for a little while to get the public addicted to the programs, and then leave the states eventually holding the bag on the costs — family leave, free hearing aids, free lawyers for illegals to fight the federal government with, electric vehicles, greenie mandates, price controls on prescription drugs, which will ensure shortages as happens everywhere else they are tried, a huge host of freebies. Either the states will be left bankrupt as they shoulder this burden or else the feds will be left bankrupt as the costs of bailouts come along down the line, and the next step will be monster tax hikes to "pay for" this pork.
Manchin is correct about the economic crisis inherent in the Bernie-crafted witches' brew of socialist chimeras, and he's saying "no" now that he's taken a gander at what's in this $1.7-trillion porkulus "reconciliation" bill.
Now, in the past, when Congress puts out a bomb of a bill that doesn't make it — think of Hillary Clinton's "Hillarycare," or George W. Bush's 2007 amnesty for illegals "immigration reform" bill — the thing dies, and then Congress moves on to some other mischief.
Somehow, this thing keeps coming back, and the results for Democrats aren't pretty.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Joe Biden (who seems to be "caucusing" with the House radicals, undercutting Nancy), both refuse to let this bill die.
The pair of them keep bringing it up for a vote again and again, getting humiliated each time.
Doddering Joe Biden, who doesn't seem to have much time left, either political capital–wise (the Virginia governor's race is on) or quite possibly in office at all, given his failing faculties, is calling this twin bill his big legacy. For Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing of the Democrats, it is their legacy, as they have no other ideas other than "spend" and turn the U.S. into Venezuela. Biden seems to think America is all in for another FDR-style government expansion. The progressives seem to think they can't show their face to other progressives if they dare compromise to get a little instead of a lot of what they want. The rest of America, as well as Manchin himself, can only see an unprecedented spending bill in a non-wartime economy, complete with a Hugo Chavez-style government bankruptcy to go with it.
Neither Biden nor Pelosi can let it go. They seem to be frozen, calcified, not nimble, almost as if based on their advanced ages.
So now, after a lot of crowing about the "framework" achieved last week, they're in for another humiliation, seemingly preferring three defeats instead of just one for this pig of a bill. Unlike Bill Clinton, they can't allow themselves to move to an incremental approach to expanding government as a means of claiming "victories." Midnight basketball, anyone? Clinton crowed to the high heavens about that one since there was no monster Hillarycare.
The Bidenites, though, are less politically nimble and flexible. And as the Virginia voters go to the polls, quite possibly to hand the conventional-wisdomers a surprise about whether they're a hopelessly blue state, it's going to get a lot tougher for Biden. He plighted his troth with the progressives, and he can't change course. Now he's in for a big defeat. A guy like Joe Manchin can see which way the political wind is blowing. Too bad Joe and Nancy cannot.
Caricature by Donkey Hotey via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.
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