After agreeing to vote for the negotiated social spending bill, moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin once again refused to vote for the bill in a Monday press briefing. Democrats were looking to vote and pass both the infrastructure and spending bills on Tuesday, but their hopes are shattered again.
Manchin ditched Democrats’ economic plan at the last minute
A day before the actual vote on Biden’s economic agenda, Manchin said the $1.75 trillion bills are composed of “shell games” and “budget gimmicks,” which are likely not to pay off in the long run.
Manchin announced his plan clearly, saying now is the time to pass the infrastructure bill alone. Likewise, he added progressives could not win his support for the social reconciliation bill by halting the infrastructure bill.
The senator’s press conference jolted Democrats (again), who were looking to pass both the bills on Tuesday after months of infighting among their ranks. Manchin’s last-minute remarks also concerned many other Democrats who have started questioning his loyalties.
Mazie Hirono, a Democrat senator from Hawaii, said Biden needs to do a lot of work with Manchin. Manchin asserted Democrats should not expect an automatic vote from him just because he belongs to their party.
Manchin used his press conference to vent about House failure to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the House was on track to pass before he held his press conference
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 1, 2021
During the blunt press briefing, Manchin said while he is open to voting for the bills that aim to move the country forward, he equally opposes any such bill that pushes the country backward.
Manchin is concerned about rising inflation and the budget deficit, for which he is reluctant to vote for the social spending spree of Biden.
Democrats remain divided, once again, on the day of the vote
The comments of Manchin also took House progressives by surprise; they were finally convinced to vote for the bills on Tuesday. Some of these members (including the chair of the congressional progressive caucus Pramila Jayapal) ignored Manchin’s remarks, for the time being.
Others have lambasted him for catalyzing the party’s infighting at the deciding moment. The White House is still depending on false optimism, as press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is confident to bring Manchin on track.
Just last week, progressives refused to vote for the bills without seeing the actual text of the social reconciliation legislation. Now, when the details of that bill have started working out for progressives, they have alienated Manchin once again.
This could linger on Biden’s agenda for long as the president is busy engaging in Glasgow by ignoring the fate of the agenda on which his presidency heavily depends.
Rep. Cori Bush: "Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country. I do not trust his assessment of what our communities need."
"We cannot spend the next year saying, 'the House did its part, and now it’s the Senate’s turn.' We need the Senate to … get this done."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 1, 2021
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is busy reiterating the already busted claim the social spending bill will cost nothing to America and have no impact on inflation.
It is pertinent to mention various reports have already indicated Biden’s habit of giving free lunch to many people surged inflation to an unprecedented level. This includes the signing of the COVID stimulus package that flooded free money into people’s pockets.