The political soap opera this Christmas in Washington carries the soundtrack of one of those reproachful songs from the Pimpinela Duo and stars President Joe Biden and the Democratic senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin. Both politicians are mired in a fight that occupies the time of the media and analysts, has the Capitol in suspense and threatens the future of the Build Back Better Act, the star plan of social spending of the president of the United States for this legislature, which passed the Congressional proceedings on November 19 by 220 votes in favor against 213 against. Manchin staged on a news program Sunday what seemed like the ultimate break: he will vote no to the norm when he lands in the Senate. The plan includes an investment of 2.2 trillion dollars (1.95 trillion euros).
The reason he gave then is the same that he has been using for months: so much spending will bring inflation, which is running rampant in the country and is one of its most pressing economic problems. This Monday, Machin gave an interview at home, on a Metro News radio program, “the voice of West Virginia.” And it is known that at home one looses more. “You already know me, I am someone who is always willing to work, to listen and to try. They know the real reason why what has happened has happened, but they will not want to say it … “. To which the presenter, Hoppy Kercheval, reacted with a cross-question: if they do not intend to speak, let the senator speak. “It was his team’s fault,” elaborated Manchin. “I understand that the team is not the same as the president. They did things that are absolutely intolerable. They know that it is so and that there is no more ”.
Politico, information website on the intricacies of power in Washington, he later tried to decipher those words with the following story. White House officials alerted Manchin last Thursday that the president was about to issue a statement warning of the delay in voting on the social spending law, which would be postponed until early January. They also told him that his name would appear on that document, something the senator asked that they reconsider. According to Manchin, these tug-of-war months, in which he has become the most controversial senator in the United States, have resulted in threats and harassment of his family. He didn’t want to be pointed out again. When he saw that the officials had ignored his request, the senator ended the negotiation on his part.
Manchin, the most Republican of Democrats, a senator from a decidedly Trumpist state, spoke with Biden Sunday afternoon after the former dropped the bomb on television. And after also the White House quickly issued a statement in which the spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said: “Senator Manchin’s comments are in contradiction with his discussions this week with the President, with the White House staff and with their own public statements ”. According Politico, the evening telephone conversation between the two politicians developed in a “cordial tone” and ended with a summons to 2022 to resume negotiations. The Capitol ceases its activity this Thursday for the Christmas holidays.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) reacted on Monday with the announcement that the Build Back Better Act will be voted on at the beginning of the year, as well as a law that seeks redistricting to The vote. “It will be as soon as possible, so that everyone has the opportunity to make their position known in the Senate, not only on television,” Schumer wrote in a letter to party colleagues, with a veiled reference to Manchin’s decision to torpedo the process in the media. For his part, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), who has publicly confronted Manchin for his indecision, added: “If you don’t want to do the right thing for the working people, for the elderly and the children of West Virginia, let him vote. against [de la ley] before the whole world ”. The chamber is literally divided in half between the two parties.
Manchin, 74, is linked to the coal industry, from which he receives large donations (also from the oil and gas industry). Biden’s plan, which aims to give the welfare state the biggest boost in half a century, includes a commitment to clean energy and places the fight against climate change as a priority. It also foresees measures to help the schooling of children, subsidies for medicines, a strengthening of universal health and the recognition of a four-week maternity leave, which is now not contemplated by US labor legislation. In its approval process, the plan’s endowment has had to be significantly reduced since the White House’s initial proposal of $ 3.5 trillion (three trillion euros).
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