Joe Manchin Signals He's About to Kill Joe Biden's Entire Agenda

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

With everything going on in Virginia between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin, the battle over Joe Biden’s agenda had taken a backseat in the news, but that may have changed in a big way today.

Late last week, a vote to push through the bipartisan infrastructure bill was scuttled after progressives refused to vote for it without more than a framework on the “Build Back Better” boondoggle. That was the second time in a month Nancy Pelosi had to pull the plug at the last minute. Yet, by Saturday, Democrats were projecting confidence again. Word was that both bills would be voted on as soon as Tuesday.

But then Joe Manchin came busting in the room like the Kool-Aid man today.

That second tweet should actually read “BBB,” which stands for “Build Back Better.” What Manchin is doing here is hitting the brakes on the progressive bill completely because it contains a variety of ridiculous budget gimmicks where programs are only funded for a few years while claiming they are “paid for.”

Here are some of the choice quotes via National Review.

Manchin reiterated his concerns about “exploding inflation,” the debt, the potential for rising interest rates, and the creation of new social spending programs. “How can I in good conscience vote for a bill that proposes massive expansions of social programs when vital programs like Social Security and Medicare face insolvency and benefits could start being reduced as soon as 2026 in Medicare and 2033 in Social Security?” he asked rhetorically. “How does that make sense? I don’t think it does.”…

…But then Manchin took things a step further.

He said, “As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games — budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full time is run out. If you extended it permanently. And that we haven’t even spoken about.”

Well, that escalated quickly.

While Democrats were optimistic earlier today, this represents a major gut-punch to their hopes and dreams. If Manchin isn’t on board with the sleight of hand they plan to do with the reconciliation bill, he’s essentially dooming Biden’s agenda to failure because there is no world in which that bill is actually paid for in a responsible way.

Instead, what Democrats had hoped to do was fund their entitlement programs for a limited number of years while the CBO scored the bill over a ten-year period. The game being played there is to get Americans used to the free stuff so that Congress is forced to extend the programs down the road. And just like with the re-upping of Obamacare subsidies we’ve seen in the past, “paying for it” would no longer even be a discussion once the public is fully invested. It’s a cynical game and Manchin seems to be announcing that he’s not down to play.

Is the West Virginia senator looking for an escape hatch here? It kind of feels like it. He’s strung these negotiations out for months, and after the progressives finally bent the knee, he’s kicking them in the face again. Perhaps he wants to see how tomorrow’s election goes? Or maybe he sees the writing on the wall back home? Whatever it is, the White House has to be furious. Where do they go from here if Manchin won’t accept their budget gimmicks? The answer is nowhere.