Manchin vs. Bernie Sanders

By Evan El-Amin
By Evan El-Amin

As I am sure you know, Congress is very busy right now debating the pros and cons of passing on the largest spending bills to ever be prosed in the United States. Biden’s Build Back Better bill would hand out $3.5 trillion to various US, as well as foreign agencies, to fix what the Democratic Party is calling “critical infrastructure.”

However, they have a slight problem. As widespread as the support for the bill is among the left-leaning political party, there are a few errant strands that have yet to agree that the bill is what is best for the nation right now – particularly at a time when inflation is on the rise, prices for oil and gas continue to increase and we are still struggling to make it out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You also likely know that West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is among those standing against the bill.

Unlike most in his party, Manchin, along with Arizona Senator and Democrat Krysten Sinema, believes in actually listening to his constituents, not only out of a sense of obligation and way to keep his job but also because it’s just the right thing to do. And as such, he has vowed to vote against the bill unless it changes significantly from its current state.

Of course, he has taken a lot of flack for doing so from his fellow party members. To them, he might as well have just committed treason and proved his loyalty to the opposing party.

In a last-ditch effort to convert Manchin to his way of thinking or at least convince him that he needed to stick to the party’s agenda and nothing else, Vermont Senator and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders went to Manchin’s home state to spread the news of his disloyalty.

In an Op-Ed for a prominent West Virginia newspaper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Sanders both highly praised the would-be new bill and bashed Manchin for sticking up for his constituents and their needs.

He wrote, “the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, supported by President Biden and almost all Democrats in Congress, is an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes.”

Sanders went on to explain that, should the bill be passed, it would expand Medicare, heavily tax the wealthy, build free daycare and pre-K schooling programs, allow for more free housing projects, and of course, save the nation and the world from natural disaster.

Then, he got personal, citing that Manchin was one of the only Democratic senators to not have shown any support for the bill and that needed to change as soon as possible.

I’m not exactly sure what Sanders thought he would get by attacking Manchin on his home turf this way. I mean, he had to know that a man such as Manchin, who has long proved that he won’t be bending to the will of some political agenda, wouldn’t just suddenly bow his head in defeat and fall in line, right?

He also should have expected some sort of retaliation – which is exactly what Manchin gave him.

In a to-the-point response on Twitter, Manchin made it even more clear that Sanders had no right to tell him how he should be feeling or voting in regards to this bill. After all, Sanders is an “out-of-stater” with “no relationship to our state,” and as such, he has no idea what is best for West Virginians.

And then, the moderate Democrat explained why he and the 53 other congress members currently against the bill should continue to “proceed with caution on any additional spending” and “reckless expansion of government programs.” He noted that “millions of jobs are open,” spending is already at an all-time high, inflation is rising, taxes are “draining” workers of their earnings, and supply chains are extremely “strained.”

And yet, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic Party’s only answer to these problems is to simply “throw more money on this already overheated economy.”

It’s just not a solution that is going to solve anything but add to the national debt. So no, Manchin will not be voting for it. And, according to him, “No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”

At least one Democrat knows how to stick to their guns…