Joe Manchin Is Pissing Me Off

Joe Manchin, in January:

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called for up to $4 trillion in infrastructure spending over the weekend as Democrats are on the verge of controlling Congress for at least the next two years.

“The most important thing? Do infrastructure. Spend $2, $3, $4 trillion over a 10-year period on infrastructure,” he told Inside West Virginia Politics, a news program. “A lot of people have lost their jobs and those jobs aren’t coming back. They need a place to work.”

Joe Manchin, in February:

Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday that he favors a large infrastructure package that would be paid for in part by raising tax revenues — a point of contention between the two parties.

“I’m sure of one thing: It’s going to be enormous,” the West Virginia Democrat, who is seen as a swing vote in a chamber divided 50-50, told reporters at the Capitol.

While he didn’t predict a price tag, Manchin said Congress should do “everything we possibly can” to pay for it. He said there should be “tax adjustments” to former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law to boost revenues, including by raising the corporate rate from the current 21 percent to at least 25 percent.

Joe Manchin in March:

Notably, Manchin said the Republican resistance to higher taxes was not a “reasonable” position in an infrastructure negotiation.

“Where do they think it’s going to come from?” he asked. “How are you going to fix America?”

Joe Manchin, today:

Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat, criticized the corporate tax increase plan President Joe Biden has proposed to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, raising concerns it could risk American competitiveness. …

…In an interview with WV MetroNews Talkline podcast on Monday, Manchin echoed Republican concerns about the tax hike.

To be fair, Manchin says he’s okay with the top corporate rate going from 21 percent to 25 percent, but not 28 percent, even though the rate was 35 percent before 2018 and U.S. companies were doing fine. No one can substantiate that the Trump tax cuts created any jobs or made the U.S. any more competitive.

And as far as competitiveness is concerned, we absolutely must modernize. In so many ways we are falling behind other industrialized nations — in high speed transportation and broadband speed and access, both of which are critical to staying competitive, and our infrastructure generally is going to hell. So Manchin’s claim that the infrastructure bill will make the U.S. less competitive is insane.

Until recently Manchin was saying it would support the infrastructure bill if it got some Republican support. That was his hedge. He could claim to be all in for infrastructure but, so sorry, bipartisanship is just more important. But last week Mitch McConnell declared there would be no Republican votes for the infrastructure bill, period, end of discussion. As Rachel Maddow said, this is great for Democrats. It gives them a green light to go ahead with reconciliation.

So now Manchin has to come up with another excuse. I guess worrying about “competitiveness” was best excuse he could find.

I agree with many that the Biden package announced last week already is too small. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said last week it ought to be $10 trillion over ten years, not $2 trillion over eight years. I’ll take the $2 trillion over nothing, in the hope that if we extend Democratic majorities in the Senate in 2022 we can get another infrastructure bill in 2023.

But, damn, I am just done with Mr. Prima Donna Joe Manchin. Maybe they’ll bring back earmarks and give Joe a bunch of projects with his name on them for West Virginia. That might keep him happy.