While the Supreme Court has been feeding the constitution into the shredder, the eastern seaboard has been drowning, and the western third of the country has experienced heretofore impossible fire events, Sen. Joe Manchin has been plotting how to sabotage President Joe Biden’s economic agenda this time around.
He landed on writing an op-ed in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal in which he declared, “I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs.” The bill in question is the budget reconciliation bill that will include Biden’s Build Back Better programs, a package that has the potential to transform our society in a really good, equitable way.
At least it’s not a flat-out refusal from Manchin, but it’s still just astoundingly thick and disingenuous of him. Of course, he lists not one single policy that’s in the bill. Like his counterpart Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Manchin keeps blathering about deficits and inflation as if multiple disasters are not upon us right now, while stubbornly refusing to say what specifically he opposes or what policies and programs he would change or propose. Instead, Manchin is urging a “pause” on the bill, calling for “significantly reducing” its size “to only what America can afford and needs to spend.”
He complains that Biden and his fellow Democrats are “[e]stablishing an artificial $3.5 trillion spending number and then reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities that should be funded,” as if the deficit peacocks hadn’t imposed the artificial spending limit. As if he’s not insisting on a completely unjustified and arbitrary cap somewhere below $3.5 trillion because . . . reasons. Instead of a Congress free to spend what it takes to make sure everyone has the basics of food, shelter, and health care and that we have a functioning physical and human infrastructure—never mind an inhabitable planet, Manchin would impose a too-small cap and let the rabble fight for scraps.
And, of course, he’s using a “keep your powder dry” argument. We can’t spend money now, he says, because we might have some crisis in the future that we have to spend money on. Literally.
Those who believe such concerns are overstated should ask themselves: What do we do if the pandemic gets worse under the next viral mutation? What do we do if there is a financial crisis like the one that led to the Great Recession? What if we face a terrorist attack or major international conflict? How will America respond to such crises if we needlessly spend trillions of dollars today?
Um, by having made the nation as resilient as possible now by spending the necessary money for it?
Manchin’s little grenade here breathed new life into the Sabotage Squad, two of whom are now making demands like they’re the queens of the goddamned Congress or something. The saboteurs, Reps. Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Henry Cuellar of Texas are doing nothing to protect the constitutional rights of their constituents right now. Instead, they are directing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get their specific sign-off in a “pre-conference” with the Senate. The bill, they demand, has to be paid for—except for climate provisions—and they also want at least 72 hours to review it before it comes to the floor. And also, of course, they still want to have that vote on it on September 27—their previous demand. As with Manchin and Sinema, the two have no policy recommendations or complaints. Just demands.
When it comes to those pay-fors, you can bet they’ll join with Manchin in opposing tax hikes. Particularly on the fossil fuel industry, like the coal brokerage firm, Enersystems, which he founded in 1998. The company was handed over to his son, but that doesn’t mean it’s not lining Manchin’s pockets anymore. “His latest financial disclosure reported $492,000 of income from Enersystems stock for 2020. Since he took office in 2010, he’s made more than $4.5 million off coal.”
That seems like a conflict of interest for the current Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee now, doesn’t it? It is perhaps time for President Biden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to sit Manchin down and have a little talk with him about that conflict.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.