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Senator Joe Manchin Again Holds Back Support for Build Back Better

At the WSJ’s CEO Council Summit Manchin says he is still wary of more government spending.
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Manchin Again Sigals Caution

Manchin Still Noncommittal

Senator Manchin has been as steady as a rock in his Concerns Regarding Build Back Better.

Sen. Joe Manchin declined to commit to voting for Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion social-policy and climate package, citing concerns about inflation and the length of programs, weeks before the Christmas deadline party leaders are racing to meet.

“The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at,” Mr. Manchin said Tuesday. “We’ve gotta make sure we get this right. We just can’t continue to flood the market, as we’ve done.”

“We’ve done so many good things in the last 10 months, and no one is taking a breath,” he said.

Mr. Manchin also criticized the Biden administration’s vaccine rules for private employers and is expected to side with Republicans during a vote as soon as this week to nullify the mandate. Republicans are using a Senate maneuver to force a vote with a simple majority, so Mr. Manchin’s support along with Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) and every Republican will pass the bill out of the Senate.

“I basically am 1,000% in favor of the federal government having a mandate [for employees]…private businesses, no,” Mr. Manchin said. “I don’t think the government has to make every decision for the private sector, you know. You’ve been doing quite well without us.”

Despite his willingness to side with Republicans, Mr. Manchin said he had no plans to leave the Democratic Party. “I’m caught between the two, but the bottom line is, you have to be caucusing somewhere,” he said.

Manchin Video at WSJ Conference

Key Statements 

  • The parliamentarian is going through what they call a scrub to see if it fits in reconciliation. We are doing so much in reconciliation and between you and I it was never intended for major policy changes. Reconciliation is for budget matters mostly.
  • We were all warned by economists back in January of this year that we would come out of this and the pent up demand was going to be strong. So maybe unemployment benefits ought to stop in May.  But they were determined to go to September-October. None of this made sense to me. I said let's get back to work, get up and go. And we can see the effects of that.
  • We had people saying inflation would be transitory. We had 17 Nobel Laureates saying it's going to be no problem. Well, 17 Nobel Laureates were wrong. And now the Fed is even saying it's not transitory and they are hoping it will reduce.
  • And the bottom line is I was concerned then. I said let's take a strategic pause in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal for that reason.
  • The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at.

A vote to kill Biden's vaccine mandate is moot because Biden would veto it and there is no supermajority to override it. 

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Regardless, I expect the Supreme Court will kill the effort anyway.

Build Back Better is a bigger concern but Manchin and Senator Krysten Sinema are still noncommittal with Manchin talking and Sinema saying virtually nothing.

Something may pass eventually, but the odds have gone down. And agreement by Christmas now seems unlikely.

If something does pass, expect Manchin to make a lot of revisions the Democratic party will hate.

This is excellent news for those of us rooting for Manchin to pull the plug.

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