Joe Biden and the Democrats got a one-two punch to their agenda yesterday.
First, there was the news of the likely death of the Build Back Better (BBB) bill, after it became clear that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) still wasn’t on board in the wake of the very concerning CBO numbers. Reports were that the bill was being put off until possibly March because they don’t have the votes now, despite the Democrats’ claim that they wanted it passed this year.
Then, when the Democrats thought they could shift from the BBB to their election reform gambit to gain more control over elections to help ensure their power, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) popped that trial balloon, saying again that she would not go along with doing away with the filibuster, “to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy.” So Democrats would need 60 votes which they would not have.
On top of all that, the media may just have pushed Manchin too far yesterday. Manchin has a long fuse and usually has a very genteel response to things, but he’s been stalked and hounded by activists and reporters everywhere. He finally snapped at a reporter yesterday when the reporter tried to say he was rejecting the BBB bill because of the child tax credit.
‘This is b******t. You’re b******t,’ the West Virginia senator yelled at Arthur Delaney, a reporter for HuffPost Politics, who asked him about reports that the child tax credit has become a major sticking point in his talks with the White House.
‘I’m done, I’m done,’ Manchin fumed as the questions continued.
Guys, I’m not negotiating with any of you all. You can ask all the questions you want. Guys, let me go,’ he told the press as he walked through the basement of the Capitol, muttering ‘God almighty’ as he walked away.
Manchin said he was never against the child tax credit. What he is opposed to is the huge cost of the bill, especially with the massive inflation that we are currently facing. Sinema has also not said that she would be supportive of the bill.
But they just keep pushing him and pushing him, as though that’s going to make him want to go along with it as opposed to the opposite — just making him dig in more. He’s been very clear with them. Even the Democrats in power finally appear to have gotten the message he isn’t on board with the BBB as presently constituted. But the media still doesn’t get the message.
There’s some talk that the moderates are trying to figure out a workaround of the filibuster that would allow them to pass the voting rights bills. That’s still a danger if they come up with something that allows them to pass anything that results in more federalizing of the elections. But they don’t appear to have anything yet.
So it looks like the Democrats are up a creek without a paddle on Biden’s agenda items at the moment, which is a terrific Christmas present for us all.