West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin recently pushed back against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over a claim she made that he was a “political pawn” of the oil and gas industry. He shared in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that he had opposed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s bid to move a $3.5 trillion spending bill through without a single vote from the 50 Republicans in the evenly divided chamber.
Manchin shared with Bash that they’ve already put out $5.4 trillion to help Americans in every way they can and that it’s going to run clear until 2022. He pointed out that it’s not the same urgency they had with the American Rescue plan, which they quickly got out the door for $2 trillion. He said there are still 11 million jobs that aren’t being filled and eight million people still unemployed. He said they need to hit the pause button to figure out everything that is going on, adding that inflation in West Virginia is “running rampant.”
Bash then pointed to one of AOC’s tweets from earlier this month where she wrote, “Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called ‘bipartisan’ fossil fuel bills. It’s killing people. Our people. At least 12 last night. Sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.”
Manchin pushed back on the accusations, saying he keeps his “door open for everybody” and that these types of superlatives are false and divisive. He said he has not met with AOC that much but that she is a person who speculates and then says things that she believes.
Manchin has continued to criticize his fellow Democrats over various spending bills and made headlines on June 8, 2021, when he declared that he would vote against the Democrats voting rights bill, the for the People Act. He published an op-ed piece in the Charleston Gazette-Mail explaining his stance. He has continued to warn his colleagues against killing the infrastructure bill, warning them that they will have to explain to Americans why they don’t care about the roads and bridges.
Manchin has also opposed the social spending in the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill which includes Medicare, climate change, and affordable housing. House Democrats are crafting the spending on “human infrastructure.” He has also cited particular opposition to the proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and has, instead, suggested 25%, a figure he believes would keep the U.S globally competitive.
“The numbers that they´re wanting to pay for and the tax changes they want to make, is that competitive? I believe there are some changes made that do not keep us competitive,” Manchin said.
Senate Democrats need 51 votes to pass the budget reconciliation bill, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker. Manchin’s support is pivotal but he has made it clear that they are not going to get his vote.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, has also expressed reservations about the hefty taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Many have argued that the rates will fall right back down to the middle and lower working classes.
Pelosi has planned a House Vote by Oct, 1, which is near the Sept. 27 vote for the slimmer infrastructure plan. Manchin said there’s no way they will get this done by the 27th and that he’s working with the people and willing to talk on a solution that makes sense. But when it comes to the House Democrats, nothing makes sense.