Yesterday was quite the day for Joe Manchin. The West Virginian senator went on a rampage against Democrat priorities, going against Nancy Pelosi’s plea for a legislative agreement on reconciliation prior to a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He put out a lengthy statement later in the afternoon and left media figures steaming at his unwillingness to fall in line. To the extent that he wasn’t the sole focus, that was because Kyrsten Sinema is also holding things up for her own reasons.
Things were so fluid, and the blows kept piling up so rapidly, that it was hard to keep up with them all.
MANCHIN Statement: "While I am hopeful that common ground can be found that would result in another historic investment in our nation, I cannot – and will not – support trillions in spending or an all or nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces." pic.twitter.com/mgDmoo5NLu
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) September 29, 2021
The continued insistence that he won’t support “trillions” in new spending is heartening. Perhaps he’s actually going to hold the line? Manchin does seem to understand the impact of inflation on his constituents, many of which exist in lower-income brackets, and he has every reason to side with them over Joe Biden and whatever CNN host is ranting at him at any given moment. His statements on targeting social programs only to those in need is also a direct shot at the Bernie Sanders’ attempt to completely transform the economy.
Manchin didn’t stop on fiscal grounds, though. We already knew he was against a $3.5 trillion budget bill. But now, he’s stomping on another major Democrat agenda item — getting rid of the Hyde Amendment. That’s something the left has been trying to do for the better part of a decade.
It’s like he just decided today was the day to be more based than any human being has ever been. https://t.co/myGlpPGTkq
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) September 30, 2021
For those that don’t know, the Hyde Amendment, itself somewhat symbolic at this point, supposedly keeps federal funding from going directly to the administration of abortions. Of course, money is fungible, and we still send hundreds of millions to abortion mills like Planned Parenthood, but the left saw the nuking of the Hyde Amendment as an important step in further normalizing taxpayer dollars going toward abortions.
Manchin coming out with an ultimatum on that issue — after he had already infuriated the far-left over the issue of spending — is the best proof yet that he’s serious. If he were planning on just folding, there’d be no reason to go this far out on the limb. He could negotiate behind closed doors, keep his mouth shut, and go along with a $2.9 trillion bill or something.
As much as I’m loath to trust Manchin, I think he’s painted himself into enough of a corner, and he’s earned enough left-wing ire, that he is indeed going to hold the line. What that looks like in the end is up in the air, but he’s extracting more than his pound of flesh.