October 4, 2021

White House Reporter to Psaki: is Sen. Manchin More in Charge than Biden?

  • The Hill

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief:
While he is hardly a champion of freedom, moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been able to make demands about the nearby $5 trillion Biden legislation agenda. Manchin is one of the two swing votes needed to pass the infrastructure and reconciliation bills currently being debated in the House and Senate. Progressives in the House are not happy with Manchin and are pressuring him to vote straight down the party line. Manchin has so much strategic power that Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if he is truly in charge of the negotiations instead of President Biden.

The Background:
Biden campaigned on a promise to recover the “soul of the nation.” That was taken by many voters as a “back to normal” message. 

It turns out Biden’s “normal” means a progressive agenda of $5 trillion in new spending and tax hikes for everyday Americans. 

But one senator is causing major problems for the White House’s agenda.

Democrats need moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin’s vote to pass any bill, because the Senate is split 50-50. Manchin is unwilling to approve huge spending that will tank the American economy and negatively affect voters in his red West Virginia. 

Manchin is not, however, leaning toward conservatism in his hesitancy to pass the Biden-backed legislation. Manchin (D- WV) has a history of sponsoring gun control legislation with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). Toomey is one of the few Republican senators who has repeatedly supported increased background checks for firearm purchases, and has implied support for “red flag” laws. Manchin’s partnership with center-right Sen. Toomey speaks more to Toomey’s anti-liberty tendencies than a shift to the right from Manchin.

According to Manchin, he will only support a reconciliation bill at $1.5 trillion; that’s $2 trillion less than what Biden is pushing to pass through Congress.

No matter how much Democrats pressure Manchin, the fact is that they need his vote. 

In response, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Joe Manchin was “playing President” and “in charge?”

She responded by saying that “this is how democracy works” and slamming the Trump administration.

Notable Quotes:

“I’ll give you a perfect example in West Virginia. I just saw today where Dollar General is no longer a dollar. It’s a dollar and a quarter or a dollar and 50 cents. That’s hard for West Virginia, a lot of people just shop there and it’s all that we have.” - Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), on inflation

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