Well, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is not toeing the party line. The Democratic senator from West Virginia called out his own party on Monday for what he called “playing games” while they try to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. This is President Joe Biden’s plan for a massive social spending bill.
Senator Manchin declared, “Throughout the last three months, I’ve been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $29 trillion in national debt that no one seems to really care about or even talk about.”
He went on to say with clarity that he would not support a package that risks hurting American families who are right now suffering from historic inflation. “Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it’ll have on our national debt, our economy, and most importantly, all of our American people,” Manchin said.
The senator suggested that members of Congress do not even really know what they are voting for and they don’t know the impact that it will have on the country. Manchin asked how he could in good conscience vote for a bill that proposes massive expansion to social programs at the same time that significant programs like Social Security and Medicare face insolvency. He said that benefits could start being reduced as soon as 2026 in Medicare and 2033 in Social Security.
Again, Manchin questioned how passing this infrastructure bill makes sense at a time like this. He answered his own question by saying, “And I don’t think it does.”
Senator Manchin said that elected leaders continue to ignore exploding inflation. The stand-by as the national debt continues to rise and interest payments on that debt will start to increase rapidly. And now the federal government will have to start raising interest rates to attempt to slow down the runaway inflation.
Manchin took the opportunity to warn that as the real details of the bill and the basic framework of the bill are released, people will see that there is a “shell game” being played. He called it budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill almost twice that amount if you extend it permanently. And this is a figure that no one is even talking about.
Manchin called the plan a “recipe for economic crisis.” He said of his colleagues that not one of them would ever represent to the American people what the real cost of the legislation is. He maintained that he has worked hard to find a way of compromise, but that it was obvious that compromise is not good enough for the majority of his colleagues in Congress. For them, it is an all-or-nothing position and they won’t seem to change unless they all agree to everything in the bill.
Manchin said, “Enough is enough. It’s time our elected leaders in Washington, all of us, stop playing games with the needs of the American people and holding a critical infrastructure bill hostage.”
Senator Manchin vowed that he was open to supporting a bill that would help to move our country forward. And admitted that he is equally open to voting against a bill that will hurt the country. He is challenging Congress to work together. He believes it is possible to work together on getting a sensible reconciliation package that will strengthen our nation and make us better and lead the world.
I guess we will just have to wait and see if sensibility is really possible in the political climate we have today.