Senator Joe Manchin is coming to grips with the fact that he got played for a fool by the Biden administration, and now all he has left is complaints.
In a scathing Wall Street Journal op-ed, Manchin writes, “When President Biden and I spoke before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act last summer, we agreed that the bill was designed to pay down our national debt and shore up America’s energy security. It was designed to generate $738 billion in new revenue, with more than $238 billion dedicated to debt reduction, the first serious piece of legislation in more than two decades that the Congressional Budget Office estimated would have done that.
Yet instead of implementing the law as intended, unelected ideologues, bureaucrats and appointees seem determined to violate and subvert the law to advance a partisan agenda that ignores both energy and fiscal security. Specifically, they are ignoring the law’s intent to support and expand fossil energy and are redefining “domestic energy” to increase clean-energy spending to potentially deficit-breaking levels. The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed. Ignoring the debt and deficit implications of these actions as the time nears to raise the debt ceiling isn’t only wrong, it’s policy and political malpractice.
I believe the only person who can rein in this extremism is Mr. Biden.
The first step is for the president to sit down with fiscally minded Republicans and Democrats to negotiate common-sense reforms to out-of-control fiscal policy. While we can all acknowledge that raising the debt limit is an absolute necessity and Republicans shouldn’t threaten otherwise, are we seriously to believe there is no room to negotiate? Does the federal government operate so efficiently and effectively that there truly isn’t a dollar of waste, fraud or abuse? Let’s get serious.
The second step is for Mr. Biden to instruct his administration to implement the Inflation Reduction Act as written and stop redefining its credits and other subsidies. That alone would save the American taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars in needless spending.”
The one lesson we can take away from the entire charade is this: if you ever get a chance to play poker against the senator from West Virginia, take it. You will probably empty his pockets.
Manchin seems determined to not take this lying down. As chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, he said he “was prepared to go to court ahead of the U.S. Treasury’s expected release of battery sourcing guidance for electric vehicle tax credits later this week,” Reuters reported.
“If it goes off the rails and violates the intent of the climate legislation approved in August, I will do whatever I can – if that means going to court and I can do it, I’d do it,” Manchin said.
Fox Business noted that “Manchin, a regular supporter of the fossil fuel industry’s interests in Congress, said he intends to transfer the EV supply chain from China, noting that he will pay attention to how the Treasury will classify processing and manufacturing in determining eligibility for $7,500 EV tax credits. ‘Manufacturing is meant to bring manufacturing back to the United States,’ he told reporters Wednesday. ‘It’s not basically allowing everyone to put all the parts and build everything you can for that battery somewhere else and then send it here for assembly.'”
The Washington Examiner had some harsh words for the naive senator from West Virginia. Opinion columnist Zacharia Faria wrote that Manchin’s complaining “is the pathetic conclusion to the master class in political incompetence that Manchin has put on under Biden’s presidency. The Inflation Reduction Act was simply Biden’s Build Back Better bill with a new paint job. It was always a climate and spending bill using legitimate concerns about inflation as a mere pretext to become law. Republicans saw this coming. What’s Manchin’s excuse?
What’s more, Manchin gave up his vote on the bill in exchange for an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that the Senate would support his permitting reform bill. Manchin sacrificed his leverage to help the Build Back Better bill rebrand across the finish line, only for Democrats to join Republicans in tanking his bill.
So what is more embarrassing: Manchin getting played by Schumer and Biden? Or Manchin thinking that complaining about it months later will cause Biden to change course?
Manchin either should have known better, or else he did know better and assumed he could get away with it. Either way, this is nothing more than a belated attempt to shore up his appalling numbers in West Virginia. His approval rating tanked after he folded to Biden — he now sits at 40% approval to 53% disapproval. Gov. Jim Justice, who is term-limited and could potentially pursue the GOP nomination to run against Manchin, has an approval rating of 64% with just 31% disapproval.”
Republicans have listed Manchin’s seat in the Senate as their top target in the 2024 election cycle.