Washington — It was a familiar and intolerable position for Democrats.
The day after unplugging the party’s plans to pass the climate, energy, and tax packages this summer, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III made repeated compromises just to crush the party’s highest ambitions. He is a member of the Conservative Democratic Party. He attended a West Virginia radio show on Friday. Perhaps he suggested that in another month or so, there might be a clear path to save the last part of President Biden’s domestic agenda.
Of course, there was no guarantee, and comments took advantage of his role as a swing vote in the evenly divided Senate to direct his party’s legislative strategy, leaving Democrats to his mercy. It was just the latest example of Mr. Manchin.
This time, there were enough Democrats.
Mr Biden informed him that he was trying to secure the climate change agenda in Congress, rather than having another negotiation with Mr Manchin.
Mr Manchin’s sudden withdrawal left Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat and leader of the majority in New York. And it has driven many Democrats into an open rebellion against Mr Manchin, blaming him for the end of their ambitions and the last chance their party will tackle the threat of climate change.
“He doesn’t know how to close a deal, or doesn’t want to close it, and has shown that you can,” said Manchin, a member of the House of Representatives of Washington, Pramira Jayapal, and chairman of Congress Progressive Caucus. rice field. Trust him. “
For over a year, Manchin, a 74-year-old Senate third term, has been exactly where he wants. It is at the heart of high stakes political and policy negotiations, with a focus on attention and speculation. To him.
Democrats once struggled to win his vote on one of the ambitious domestic agendas and coordinated their policy moves so as not to alienate him. They distorted themselves to fit his frequently changing orders and repeatedly reduced their ambitions to stay within his red line, but they are their number one priority so far. I’m leaving empty-handed.
Due to the Democratic Party’s very thin margin of control in the 50-50 Senate and the unified Republican opposition to most of their agenda, Mr Manchin has an effective veto against the party’s legislative strategy. , Has exercised it frequently and voluntarily.
But while Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing for transformative policies to tackle generational challenges such as climate change, Manchin guides the desire of his highly conservative coal and gas producers. He focuses on the short term issues.
On Friday, he said he told the leader that he would like to wait another month before the July inflation rate was announced before deciding whether to deal with climate change.
Understand what happened to Biden’s national agenda
“Better buildback.” Prior to being elected president in 2020, Joseph R. Byden Jr. clarified his ambitious vision for the administration under the slogan “Build Back Better,” invested in clean energy, and raised spending on American-made products. I promised to make sure it was used.
“I’m up to now. I didn’t let the staff through this. Unless I seriously try to find a way to do good in our country, I’ll do this Did not go through, “Mr. Manchin said on Friday. interview With radio host Hoppy Kirshval. “They can’t understand because I have a” D “in my name or someone has an” R “in their name. Not me. “
Biden did not mention Manchin in a statement released Friday. When asked at a press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, whether West Virginia people were negotiating in good faith, the president accused him of not negotiating with him.
But angry parliamentary Democrats have fixed their frustration to West Virginia Democrats. First, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich publicly meditated on whether Mr. Manchin was worthy of chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Commission.
“It was a really, really terrible day,” Senator Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat and key advocate of climate change, said in an interview. “If Senator Manchin wants a deal on climate and energy, he can do it with a heartbeat. This is Senator Manchin’s arrangement, and if that doesn’t happen, it’s up to him. increase.”
At Capitol Hill, Manchin is like a unicorn, the only Democratic Party member from the state of Ruby Red, acting and voting accordingly. In a state where Trump won nearly 40 points in 2020, with plans to confront voters in 2024, there is little chance of being threatened by a major challenger.
This gives Manchin the power to reach his own policy goals, including sticking to being completely away from oil and gas, and sees him as a rush to the party’s liberal foundation. I was able to resist things. He looks happiest during the resulting policy negotiations. He eats wine and meals as an important participant in bipartisan talks, is invited to Mr. Biden’s Wilmington home for breakfast, and analyzes all his syllables for the core of his insights in the White House. Tracked by officials, lawmakers, aides, and reporters.
But Mr Manchin’s turbidity, and sometimes contradictions, is increasingly grateful to his Democratic colleagues.
Only three months after the Biden administration, he urged the longest open ballot in modern Senate history by last-minute challenge to the size of the unemployment allowance in the $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid program. The Democrats had to cut unemployed payments to win his vote, which solidified the passage of the package.
He refused to help the Democrats change the filibuster rules to enact the Voting Rights Act, and led Schumer in writing alternative bills to ensure he supported it. Killed the effort even after giving the role.
But without problems, Manchin has plagued Democrats more than an ambitious social safety net, climate, and tax package.Mr. Schumer to win his vote to start work on the plan Sign on for secret notes West Virginia said he wasn’t willing to accept the $ 3.5 trillion budget expected by the Democratic budget. This document outlines Manchin’s much narrower parameters for a $ 1.5 trillion package, such as social program income standards, fossil fuel tax credits and natural gas adjustments.
“I try to discourage Joe about many of these,” Schumar skimmed the document, infuriating many Democrats when it was released. He could never do it. Six months later, Manchin suddenly left the discussion about packaging.
The Democrats reorganized in January and began efforts to restructure the shattered plan, adhering to Mr Manchin’s recurring elements. Repaying government bonds, reviewing some tax laws, and reducing prescription drug costs by enabling Medicare negotiations. Price and some spending.
By the beginning of this month, Senate Democrats believe they will have Manchin’s support, including drug price proposals and plans to increase the solvency of major Medicare programs by increasing high-income taxes. I started to deploy a part of the package. American.
But by Thursday evening, the price will be 9.1% surge In the year ending June, Manchin barked again and told Schumar that he would like to wait for climate and tax proposals until July’s inflation rate. If the Democratic Party insists on promoting legislative measures earlier, Manchin will only act on proposals aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and expanding subsidies for expanded health insurance reforms. I said it should be.
“Wait until it comes out, and you’ll see that we’re on a non-inflammatory path to further increase inflation,” Manchin said in a radio interview. Looking back on Schumaer’s reaction, Manchin added: It’s unwise to do other things now. “
“I want a climate. I want an energy policy,” he added. “I thought we were really going in the right direction.”
However, Mr. Schumer was indignant and seemed convinced that Manchin’s vote was not obtained. One official said Manchin rejected major concessions that would infuriate progressive Democrats, such as adding drilling measures, removing tax credits for major electric vehicles, and eliminating resisting tax increases. rice field.
Mr Manchin’s position is to effectively reduce opportunities for action over the next few days, which is an important priority for Democrats, and to put a domestic policy package ahead of the mid-term parliamentary elections unless it completely abandons climate and tax proposals. It strongly suggested that it may not be rescued. November. In September, after a five-week scheduled recess, lawmakers have only a limited time frame to act on the package. And they are keen to devote as much time as possible to campaigning for everything that passed before the November elections.
After suffering political damage from a year of painstaking discussions, few Democrats on Friday seem to be happy to bet that there was a bigger deal in September.
“I can’t get blood from the stone,” said Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who is facing reelections in a highly competitive district. “I’m not in the Senate. They obviously have trouble negotiating between them. And I just — for my members — take what I can get . “
Katie Edmondson, Stephanie Lai When Margot Sanger Cuts Report that contributed.