Marble Falls West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin flipped the script without a worry in the world about whether his on-again, off-again position on the Biden administration’s signature climate, tax, and healthcare might have bothered or embarrassed him in the least. Promoting the fig leaf name change of the proposed Senate legislation, he touted the claim that the Build Back Better Bill was dead, long live the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Should we worry? Do any of us care about what you call the thing? In my book, it’s simply a relief that these folks somewhere in the halls of Congress finally remembered how to make a deal, one way or another, rather than simply posturing and spitting across the aisle. When the people get served, who cares how messy the process might have been.
For the Republicans, their line is pretty much what any might expect. If it smells like a pig, oinks like a pig, no matter how much lipstick is applied, it’s still a pig. If Manchin didn’t worry about consistency being the hobgoblin of his little mine, Senate Minority Leader O’Connell certainly did, and he was screaming like the proverbial stuck pig, while clearly identifying the new bill as the same pig. He has to be a bit red-faced reading the editorial by his buddies that run that page for the Wall Street Journal. They give him a face-slap for being played by Manchin. The way they call it, Manchin, head faked them after McConnell said Republicans wouldn’t support the giant $230 billion plus chip making bill, if the infrastructure bill was on the table. He stepped back, the chip bill passed, and now, he’s stepped back in. I doubt that part of the story. Their view that he is all about making a deal is probably closer to being right on the money.
Why don’t I care and am more than willing to take the deal and run? Look what’s still in this package. According to the Times’ report:
The package would set aside $369 billion for climate and energy proposals, the most ambitious climate action ever taken by Congress, and raise an estimated $451 billion in new tax revenue over a decade, while cutting federal spending on prescription drugs by $288 billion, according to a summary.
Add $80 billion for the IRS to maybe finally do its job, and that the tax hikes come from eliminating a private equity goodie bag and forcing a minimum tax on the Apples and Amazons of America, and, looking under the hood, I like it even better. No one got a pony under the tree for Christmas, so we should be happy for our better health.
But, wait, maybe Manchin had Christmas? He doesn’t care what people call him, as the saying goes, as long as he’s not late for dinner, and he got fed. He seems to have garnered an agreement for permitting a pipeline in the near future from his Virginia to the other Virginia. Manchin has never cared what anyone thought about his mercurial and coal-conflicted doings in DC, as long as he had some pork to take home for the folks back home.
If that’s what it takes for us to get better healthcare and the biggest climate change investment ever, then what I have to say to Senator Manchin is simple: bon appetit!