Commentary

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia makes a statement in the Senate TV Studio on Capitol Hill on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia makes a statement in the Senate TV Studio on Capitol Hill on Monday in Washington, D.C. (Pete Marovich / Getty Images)

 By C. Douglas Golden  November 2, 2021 at 1:43pm

Like it or not, the Democrats are going to have to get West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin on board if they’re going to pass their massive spending plan.

No, the GOP may not be able to stop the $1.75 trillion plan; thanks to a process called budget reconciliation, the Democrats can pass it through the Senate on a party-line vote. Of course, that requires everyone on the left to get in line; the upper chamber is split 50-50 and no Republicans have said they’re backing the plan, which means moderates — particularly Manchin — have to be behind it.

As of right now, Manchin isn’t. On Monday, CNN reported, Manchin told reporters during a media briefing that he wasn’t going to vote on the pared-down spending bill without first voting on the so-called $1.2 trillion “hard” infrastructure compromise bill, that he wouldn’t be pledging to vote for the spending bill in exchange for the infrastructure bill and that he wasn’t pledging to vote “yes” on the $1.75 trillion plan at all.

“It is time to vote on the [bipartisan infrastructure] bill, up or down,” Manchin said. “Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.”

CNN reported that “Manchin didn’t want to get jammed into supporting something he was far from ready to endorse.”

“One thing that Manchin’s statement makes clear is it’s going to take time — potentially a lot more time — to win his support, if that’s even possible,” CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted.

One thing that Manchin’s statement makes clear is it’s going to take time — potentially a lot more time — to win his support, if that’s even possible. https://t.co/W6ANw7oNrL

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 1, 2021

How, then, to convince him? No doubt the House of Representatives’ progressives probably aren’t feeling too happy right now, considering many feel Manchin will abandon the spending plan once the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed. However, if there’s a way to convince Manchin from the progressive side of the aisle, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri probably hasn’t found it.

Should Manchin vote for the Democrats’ spending plan?

“Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country,” Bush wrote in a tweet, followed by a statement that called Manchin a racist, one whose “opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant.”

“I do not trust his assessment of what our communities need the most,” Bush said.

“I trust the parents in my district who can’t get to their shift without childcare. I trust the scientists who have shown us what our future will look like if we fail to meaningfully address the climate crisis. I trust the patients and doctors crying out for comprehensive health coverage for every person in America.

“When I promised St. Louis a historic investment in children, in our seniors, in housing, and in our schools, I said that I would do everything I can to actually deliver change that our community can feel,” she continued.

“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 actually get this done.”

Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country. pic.twitter.com/aG7zBuyMQy

— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) November 1, 2021

“Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant. When we talk about transformative change, we are talking about a bill that will benefit Black, brown and Indigenous communities,” Bush’s statement continued.

“Those same communities are overwhelmingly excluded from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We cannot leave anyone behind.

“Senator Manchin must support the Build Back Better Act,” the statement concluded.

Oh, well, that settles it: Now he’s definitely on board.

There are a few problems with this strategy, one of which Ben Shapiro pointed out:

Narrator: Joe Manchin did in fact get to dictate the future of the country https://t.co/R7xh7HjG7B

— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 2, 2021

If the Democrats want any of this to pass, the progressives can make as much noise as they want — they still need Manchin to vote with them. And how do you get his vote? Not like this:

If Cori Bush thinks playing the race card from the bottom of the deck will bring Manchin in, well… BUSH: “Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant.” Yep- this is totally getting done this week.

— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) November 1, 2021

Oh man Cori Bush is about to see if calling Joe Manchin a racist helps get his vote or not. https://t.co/LJB9kPBi7t

— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) November 1, 2021

Calling Joe Manchin a racist may indeed get some attention. It may get plaudits from the progressive Twittersphere, but it’s not going to get anything passed.

Republicans should be fine with this. Cori Bush’s fellow Democrats, however, ought to be a lot warier about calling Manchin a bigot because he simply isn’t willing to back their insane profligacy.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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