Joe Manchin Holding Out

President Joe Biden’s package proposals and policies have led to major  disagreement, even between progressive and moderate Democrats, for months. Joe Biden’s administration is pushing another large social package they say would pay for health care, education, raising children, caring for elderly people in their homes, tax breaks and electrified vehicles. Republicans and people on the right have openly spoken against the debt and other implications the large social package would have. However, Democrats and The White House remained confident Senator Joe Manchin would support Biden’s plan. Press secretary Jen Psaki in a statement, “we remain confident that the plan will gain Senator Manchin’s support.” In addition to hoping to pass the large social package, Congress faces critical deadlines in the next five weeks to avoid a government shutdown and avert an unprecedented default on the federal government’s debt with likely economic consequences. Now, Manchin is one of two Senators who have become holdouts, stalling the passage of the large social package. 

Senator Joe Manchin becomes One of Two Holdouts

Whitehouse Democrats assumed Senator Joe Manchin would signal support for Biden’s large social package. However, Senator Joe Manchin has become one of two holdouts for Biden’s large $1.75 trillion social package. Manchin said the large social package is filled with “shell games” and “budget gimmicks” that would end up costing more than $1.75 trillion. The two holdout senators, whose votes are needed, say they’re open to voting for Biden’s large social package, if it “moves our country forward.” In the same thought, Senator Joe Manchin said he’s “equally open to voting against” the large social package if he believes it would negatively impact the US more than it would help. Senator Joe Manchin believes lawmakers should focus on the smaller infrastructure package but they seem to want the passage of the large social package first. 

“While I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise, it’s obvious: Compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress. It’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything,” Manchin said, according to Reuters. Manchin said it’s “time to vote” on a recently stalled $1 trillion infrastructure package the Senate passed with the support of 19 Republicans. Joe Manchin is urging Democrats to quit holding the smaller infrastructure bill “hostage” as negotiations continue on the large social package. Senator Joe Manchin said, “Enough is enough. It’s time our elected leaders in Washington, all of us, stopped playing games with the needs of the American people in holding a critical infrastructure bill hostage.”

Joe Manchin Democrat Hold Out

Why did Senator Joe Manchin Become a Holdout?

Republicans strongly opposed the large social package and are giving no votes. This means Democrats have to do their best to unite progressive and centrist lawmakers around the large social package. Senator Joe Manchin has become a holdout because he is angry over progressives holding the smaller public works bill “hostage.” He wants Democrats to push ahead with the smaller public works bill of roads, highways and broadband projects that had already been approved by the Senate but is being stalled by House progressives. Senator Joe Manchin doesn’t believe lawmakers should be able to use the small infrastructure package as leverage, while they try to win commitments for Biden’s large social package. Joe Manchin will “not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact.” He believes it is necessary to understand how implementing the large social package could affect the economy and federal debt. Progressive lawmakers understand the hesitancy from holdout senators and Republicans but have demanded no vote on the small infrastructure package until the large social package was assured Senate passage. “This is not how the United States Congress should operate,” Manchin said. 

The Senate is divided 50-50, with Democrats holding the majority because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. This means any Democratic senator basically has effective veto power. Senator Joe Manchin becoming a holdout could be the beginning of some democrats standing against a government which is currently leaning pretty far left.  We currently see this view of not being willing to let the big government pick and choose what to do in order to pass their own agenda, emerging from the Democratic party. Could we be seeing the beginning ripples of a wave of moderate Democrats which would be easier for Republicans to work with? Even if that isn’t the case, we definitely could be seeing a split being the created democratic party between people who support Biden and people who want to help the country. How Biden’s administration, lawmakers, and especially other Democrats respond this will affect the future of the US. Biden recognised this when he visited Capitol Hill on Thursday to plead with Democratic lawmakers to support the large social package. In a meeting Biden told Democrats, “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week.”

Written by: Erinn Malloy

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