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Let's See How Joe Manchin's Return to Washington Went

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Back in the political arena Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin confirmed he’s not currently working with the White House to find agreement on the Build Back Better social legislation, which seems perpetually stalled due to his wise opposition.

The West Virginian famously announced last month that he would not vote for the $2.4 trillion boondoggle, arguing it was too costly and packed with gimmicks that would hurt the economy. He also cited soaring inflation, as well as global unrest, as more pertinent concerns.

Related: Joe Manchin NEVER Planned to Support BBB: Here’s Why

Democrats and Biden said they planned to continue negotiating with Manchin, but the senator reminded everyone today that nothing is happening.

 

“I’ve never turned down talks with anybody. I was very clear on where I stand, and I thought it was time to do that,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday, while claiming he’s been consistent in his opposition to the bill. “But to just continue on and on as we have for five-and-a-half months, I haven’t changed from the first day I talked to leadership. Everyone’s been working I think in the best good faith they possibly can. I’ve just had a very difficult time, and understanding where we are and where our country is and the concerns I have.”

Manchin also said he’s more interested in legislation that has bipartisan support  than bills that further divide Democrats and Republicans.

“There’s an awful lot of things, a lot of things that were very, I think, well intended. And there was a lot of things that was a pretty far reach,” he explained. “Our country is divided and I don’t intend to do anything that divides our country anymore.”

Unlike Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, Manchin seems to appreciate the  filibuster and have a sensible outlook.

As elections analysts agree Republicans will wrest control of at least one legislative chamber in this year’s midterms, does it make any practical sense for Democrats to give themselves a legislative tool that will be useless in 12 months? And depending how the next presidential election goes, that tool will used against them as soon as three years from now. More evidence of the short-term miscues of Schumer, who’s beginning 2022 and bad as he ended 2021.

But as Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and hopefully a few others understand, outside of Biden’s win, the party did rather poorly in 2020, and this is not 1937. Democrats have a split Senate and a tiny, quite temporary House majority.

It is alarming that only two of the 50 Democrats in the U.S. Senate are sane and capable of thinking beyond the immediate term. A year is a long time in politics, but if Manchin pushes back against this unconstitutional lunacy and odious personal attacks from his own party, he will have done the country a patriotic service.