Senate Democrats are still regrouping from the defection of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who not only tried to tank President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) plan last month, he went on Fox News to do it. Leadership has admitted at least temporary defeat; Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters Tuesday that BBB has been put on the back burner until after the Senate deals with voting rights.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has prioritized the voting rights and election reforms bills, and the challenge to the filibuster passing them will require, for this month. Again, Manchin is his primary obstacle on that effort, too. It’s a position Manchin appears to relish, and he’s back to justifying it with lies and nonsense.
The center of attention among Capitol Hill reporters first thing Tuesday, Manchin kept up his Fox News bombast. He told reporters that he has had “no negotiations” with the President Biden since that pre-Christmas bombshell. That’s in direct opposition what the White House has said. Economic adviser Jared Bernstein said last week: “The day after that announcement where [Sen. Manchin] said he couldn’t vote for the bill as it was, they were talking again.” There were further reports that the two talked after Manchin’s Fox appearance.
Maybe that wasn’t what Manchin calls “negotiation” but he also said Tuesday that there are “no discussions,” and then proceeded to negotiate with himself while saying, “I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better because I think I’ve been very clear on that. There is no negotiation going on at this time,” Manchin told reporters.
Despite saying he wasn’t going to talk about BBB, he talked about it. “The climate thing is one that we probably could come to an agreement much easier than anything else,” Manchin said. He also called the bill “well-intended” but a “far reach.” He sure had a lot to say about a bill he wasn’t going to talk about. Like this:
Yes, people who are raising children and not working must be punished by proving that they work in a way that no person who has a regular job really has ever had to do. Never mind the cruelty of saying that people who can’t work shouldn’t qualify for the credit.
There go all the grandparents raising children, the disabled people who can’t work, those who can’t make enough in the low-wage jobs available to them to be able to afford child care, the people who earn too little to file taxes and who make up the bulk of families lifted out of poverty last year by the expanded Child Tax Credit payments.
Never mind that he’s saying this in the middle of a goddamned pandemic. The man doesn’t even know how taxes work and he’s out there flaunting his willful ignorance. You don’t file a 1099 to prove that you are working. You don’t even “file” it, but use it to prepare your tax return if you worked as an independent contractor—the most common use for a 1099.
At any rate, it has absolutely nothing to do with qualifying for a child tax credit. It’s just Manchin spouting more nonsense about stuff he hasn’t bothered to learn about (like his insistence that BBB would cause inflation) to justify his opposition to helping people.
Manchin’s stubbornness and cruelty is one thing. His willful ignorance about how anything that he was elected to work on works makes it that much worse.
For his part, Schumer is insisting that they are moving forward. “I intend to hold a vote in the Senate on BBB and we’ll keep voting until we get a bill passed. The stakes are high for us to find common ground,” Schumer said Tuesday.
Likewise, a White House official said that they would not “comment about any individual member, but we continue to be engaged with a wide range of senators about advancing the President’s Build Back Better” plan.