Democrats stiff Joe Manchin of the goodies they promised him for voting for their 'Inflation Reduction Act'
Who must feel like the biggest fool in Washington, right now?
Probably Sen. Joe Manchin, the independent-minded Democrat from the bright red state of West Virginia, who cut a deal with his fellow Democrats on the "Inflation Reduction Act," gave them his vote with conditions -- and is now getting stiffed.
According to The Hill:
More than 70 House Democrats are signing on to a letter pressing Democratic leaders to not include a side deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on reforming the permit process for energy projects in a bill funding the government.
The permitting reform language was offered to Manchin to win his vote on the massive climate, tax and health care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act that was signed into law by President Biden last month.
But in the new letter, the Democratic lawmakers are asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) not to include the permitting reforms championed by Manchin into a stopgap funding measure that Congress is expected to take up this month.
Call it Democrat Card Monte.
Right now, Joe must feel the like the biggest 'mark' around.
From the very beginning, all the signs of a deal was there, following the Democrats' party-line vote for the swiftly passed $800 billion "Inflation Redution Act" of 2022, which does nothing to stop inflation, but shells out a lot of cash on greenie spending boondoggles for the coastal elites, and beefs up the IRS enforcement arm which is already overactive in the poorer states. Notice whose state gets audited a lot.
Like many of these gargantuan Democrat spending packages, Manchin had been skeptical, refusing to fork over his vote for a bill he knew his constituents wouldn't like to have to swallow. He was that way with Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" greenie scheme, for one, which failed to pass, enraging other Democrats. According to Wikipedia:
In December 2021, Manchin signaled that he was not likely to vote for the Build Back Better Act, saying, "I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there." Manchin cited growing inflation, the national debt, and the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as reasons for opposition. The White House responded to his statements with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying 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".
All the same, he voted with Democrats some 89% of the time, according to the same source.
This time, though, the Democrats were waiting for him. To get their latest spendathon passed, they cut a deal with Joe, promising to tack on some permit-processing reform on energy projects for his coal-producing state, to a continuing resolution to finance goverment. They got his vote for that, and the "Inflation Reduction Act" sailed through.
Now they're reneging on their offer, with some 70 Democrats signing a letter urging that Manchin's bauble get ignored altogether. Seems 'a deal is a deal' or political horse-trading is no longer a deal so long as the participants are Democrats.
Get a load of the attitude of the 70, from The Hill's story:
The summary also said the package will require the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a controversial vessel that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia.
[Arizona Democrat Rep. Raúl] Grijalva previously told The Hill that he didn’t feel an “obligation” to vote for the changes since he was not part of the negotiations with Manchin. He has argued that members should not have to choose between funding the government and voting for changes that they oppose.
In the new letter, the lawmakers said that they support bolstering the environmental review process by providing more funding for government agencies, but oppose “attempts to short-circuit or undermine” a key environmental law requiring the reviews.
A deal a deal? Not with these guys in the saddle.
Now Joe's left holding the bag, owning the vote on the 87,000 new IRS agents, and if the 70 get their way, not getting a thing in return for it, despite the Democrat promises. West Virginia, sitting on a pile of energy resources for development plus some prime transport real estate for energy transmission, will be left poor, watching its resources stay in the ground, while the IRS agents will be wildly active in Manchin's state, given its already existing audit rates, likely due to the number of poor people claiming the earned income tax credit. The poor will get poorer, because Joe sold them down the river and brought back nothing in return for them.
Which does indeed made Manchin look like an idiot. His own party is now treating its promises to him as dispensible.
And that tells us a lot about what their promises are worth -- obviously, cutting deals with Democrats should be a 'cash only, payment up front' type operation. That's as true with the voters as it is with Manchin.
But it also tells us that Manchin is a boob. He ought to have known what his own party was like and what its promises were worth, in order to avoid falling into the three-card monte trap he's just fallen into.
He didn't. He was as gullible as Mitt Romney. That's on him, given the number of years he's spent as a Democrat. He may be retiring by the next Senate term, but his party is going to have to answer questions from West Virginia's stiffed voters. A party that can't be loyal or show integrity to even its own members is a party that doesn't deserve anybody's vote.