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Senator Manchin Seeks "Strategic Pause on Reconciliation" Did Biden's Budget Just Die?

A critical showdown in both the House and the Senate are coming right up.
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Strategic Pause

In an unexpected twist to Biden's $3.5 trillion budget proposal, Senator Joe Manchin wrote this Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal. 

Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion

Here are a few key excerpts from Manchin's op-ed.

Inflation Tax

An overheating economy has imposed a costly “inflation tax” on every middle- and working-class American. At $28.7 trillion and growing, the nation’s debt has reached record levels. Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans.

Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not. 

Can't Explain It

I have always said if I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it, and I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $3.5 trillionI, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs. This is even more important now as the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have sounded the alarm that these life-saving programs will be insolvent and benefits could start to be reduced as soon as 2026 for Medicare and 2033, a year earlier than previously projected, for Social Security.

Wrong Then, Wrong Now

In 2017, my Republican friends used the privileged legislative procedure of budget reconciliation to rush through a partisan tax bill that added more than $1 trillion to the national debt and put investors ahead of workers. Then, Democrats rightfully criticized this budgetary tactic. Now, my Democratic friends want to use this same budgetary tactic to push through sweeping legislation to make “historic investments.” Respectfully, it was wrong when the Republicans did it, and it is wrong now. If we want to invest in America, a goal I support, then let’s take the time to get it right and determine what is absolutely necessary.

Allegiance to Constitution, Not Parties

At a time of intense political and policy divisions, it would serve us well to remember that members of Congress swear allegiance to this nation and fidelity to its Constitution, not to a political party. By placing a strategic pause on this budgetary proposal, by significantly reducing the size of any possible reconciliation bill to only what America can afford and needs to spend, we can and will build a better and stronger nation for all our families.

Seven Key Takeaways

  1. Inflation tax on every middle- and working-class American.
  2. Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. 
  3. Making budgetary decisions under artificial political deadlines never leads to good policy or sound decisions
  4. If I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it, and I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $3.5 trillion.
  5. This is even more important now as the Social Security and Medicare Trustees have sounded the alarm that these life-saving programs will be insolvent.
  6.  It was wrong when the Republicans did it, and it is wrong now. 
  7. It would serve us well to remember that members of Congress swear allegiance to this nation and fidelity to its Constitution, not to a political party.

No Votes to Spare

Biden has no votes to spare in the Senate. He needs support of all 50 Democrat Senators plus Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie.

And it's not just Manchin the Democrats need to appease. Senator Krysten Sinema (D., AZ) is also on record opposing $3.5 trillion in spending.

It will be a lot easier to kill misguided legislation if there is not a single holdout. 

No Climate, No Deal

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No Climate, No Deal

Recall AOC's threat to senator Sinema.

On July 30, I noted AOC Goes After Senator Krysten Sinema With a "No Climate, No Deal" Threat

Critical House Showdown

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, AOC, and 65 Progressive members of Congress all want a budget resolution to pass the House and the Senate before sending the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure to president Biden.

However, In the House, Pelosi only has 3 votes to spare. And we still do not have a Budget Reconciliation Outline!

How does Pelosi meet the goals of the Progressives without losing 3 votes while Manchin and Sinema effectively put the whole thing on ice? 

Greens Hijack Agenda

On July 15, I commented The Greens Hijack Biden's $3.5 Trillion Budget Proposal (That Could be a Blessing)

The proposal is a tariff (tax or a polluter import fee if you prefer). The idea is to put a tax on imports to make those countries adhere to the Progressive's goal of 80% carbon-free energy by 2030 or 2035 at the latest.

How likely is passage?

I don't know.

Senator Sinema clearly has strong reservations.

It only takes one to derail the Socialist Express Train. But it would be better if there were at least two.

Blessing?

My idea was the bill was so loaded with garbage that it might sink everything.

Despite this talk, we still do not know what will happen. However, we are nearing a critical showdown.

AOC's and Pelosi's comments are undoubtedly going to be amusing. 

Key Question

Looking ahead, here's the key question: Millennials and Zoomers Inherit a Boomer Mess, What Will They Do With Their Turn?

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