Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is flexing his power once again in the closely divided Senate.
Joe Biden is trying to push through a massively expensive $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill, which is mostly not infrastructure, but a bill chockfull of Democratic agenda items.
Manchin is now making it clear that he is not on board with the bill as presently written, that he opposes the bill’s increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, saying that it was too high and would hurt American competitiveness. He’s also saying he’s not the only one having problems with the bill.
So even if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tries to use budget reconciliation to get the bill through to bypass the 60 vote threshold, the Democrats would still need 51 votes and Manchin.
“If I don’t vote to get on it, then it’s not going anywhere, so we’re going to have some leverage here,” Manchin said. “It’s more than just me. There’s six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this. We have to be competitive, and we’re not going to throw caution to the wind.”
Jen Psaki got all huffy when told about Manchin’s comments, trying to suggest that some actually thought the massive bill was “too small.” Sorry, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) doesn’t count, she thinks money grows on trees.
“The president felt it was responsible to propose a way to pay for his proposals,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday when asked about Manchin’s comments. “That’s exactly what he did. He knows some members think it’s too big, some think it’s too small…We fully expect that from Sen. Manchin and other members. We expect the question of how to pay for the package, if we should pay for the package, to be part of the disussion. We’re open to hearing ideas.”
So right now without Manchin and what sounds like a small coterie of other Democrats, they don’t have the votes and this effort is dead in the water. That said, there’s still a lot of other horrible things in the bill and the concern would be if Biden brings down the corporate tax number could he buy off the folks who are hesitant now? How about an infrastructure bill that’s actually about infrastructure and isn’t just one more bill to consolidate Democrats’ power? That seems to be the point of every bill now, under the cover of allegedly noble intent.