WASHINGTON — Republicans are furious with Sen. Joe Manchin.
The West Virginia Democrat on Wednesday announced a surprise deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) to revive much of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy agenda.
“It was obviously a Joe Manchin double cross,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Fox News Wednesday night. “Just two weeks ago he said he was not going to support a bill like this.”
So much for Manchin’s love affair with Republicans, who have frequently praised him for refusing to back various high-profile Democratic proposals. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) even considered Manchin joining the Grand Old Party.
Republicans are especially upset because in June, McConnell promised that Republicans would block the Senate from passing an independent bill subsidizing the US semiconductor computer chip industry if Democrats tried to revive their program through the Senate’s “budget reconciliation” process.
Two weeks ago, after the latest bad inflation reading, Manchin gave his colleagues the impression that he would not support such a bill. So when the Senate passed the flea bill on Wednesday, with 17 Republicans voting yes, it looked like the reconciliation bill was dead. But hours later, Manchin announced he was back with a new name: The Inflation Reduction Act.
Manchin said Thursday he was not trying to draw one on Republicans. On the contrary, he and Schumer had been negotiating from the start and aimed to finish the bill before the Senate went into recess on August 6.
“There was no malicious intent,” Manchin told reporters Thursday. “We had a bill that was almost done, we were able to finish it on Wednesday, so because of Wednesday, that means we can go into reconciliation next Wednesday and be done before we leave on the 6th.”
The timeline could be optimistic, as Democrats still need the Senate congressman to rule that the various provisions of the bill are eligible for reconciliation, allowing bills to pass the Senate with just 50 votes. instead of 60, which means Democrats can bypass Republicans. It is possible that a final vote will be postponed to the weekend.
The Reducing Inflation Act is less ambitious than the “Building Back Better” Bill it replaces, but is still substantive legislation. Among other things, it would subsidize green energy to the tune of more than $300 billion, allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, cap drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year and reduce the federal budget deficit further. more than $300 billion thanks in part to increased IRS enforcement, according to a summary from Manchin’s office.
Even though Manchin and Schumer deliberately waited to make their announcement after the chip bill passed, it wouldn’t really be a double cross if Manchin hadn’t pledged to Republicans not to back a bill. Democrat law – what he hadn’t.
Still, Republicans are acting like they’ve been stabbed in the back, and after Manchin’s announcement, House leaders began urging members to vote against the chip bill passed by the Senate. A source told HuffPost earlier this week that as many as 30 Republicans would support the measure. In the end, 24 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in voting for the bill.
“I just thought it was bad faith,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.).
On Wednesday evening, Republican senators voted against a bill to help veterans injured by homes burned out in foreign wars, even though they had already backed it in a procedural vote. Apparently Republicans opposed the bill’s amendment process, but several Democrats said it was retaliatory.
“Republicans are now holding veterans hostage because they’re crazy,” Manchin said. “It’s wrong.”
Manchin also lamented that last year progressive Democrats briefly refused to back a bipartisan infrastructure bill because they wanted assurances that Congress would pass Build Back Better first. He said the infrastructure reduction law should be bipartisan.
“We’ve become so dysfunctional,” Manchin said. “My Republican friends, they’re all such good people, and they’re friends of mine, but they get carried away with the thought, ‘Well, we have to be against something because it might make the other side look good. .'”
Cotton, for his part, was unconvinced by Manchin’s argument that he’s just trying to get a bill before recess.
“I’m sure Joe’s story is going to change,” Cotton told HuffPost. “Like always.”
The Huffington Gt