During the fist fight over the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and the forthcoming human infrastructure bill, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., made a pertinent point prior to the House passage of the bill. Here it is and, just to be clear, I wholeheartedly agree.
He said, “I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $29 trillion dollars in national debt that no one seems to really care about or even talk about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation.
“Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy, or most importantly, our American people. Every elected representative needs to know what they are voting for and the impact it has, not only on their constituents, but the entire country.
“That is why we must allow time for complete transparency and analysis on the impact of changes to our tax code and energy and climate policies to insure [sic] our country is well positioned to remain the superpower of the world while we inspire the rest of the world towards a clean environment and this all can be done.”
Yup. What Joe said.
He continued, “I, for one, won’t support a multi-trillion-dollar bill without greater clarity, about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects [that] inflation and debt ... have on our economy and existing government programs. For example, how could I, in good conscience, vote for a bill that proposes massive expansion of social programs while vital programs like Social Security and Medicare face insolvency and benefits could start being reduced as soon as 2026 and Medicare in 2033 ... . How does that make sense? I don’t think it does.”
Amen. It doesn’t.
“Meanwhile, elected leaders continue to ignore exploding inflation ... that our national debt continues to grow and interest payments on the debt will start to rise rapidly increase when the Fed has to increase interest rates to try to slow down this runaway inflation.”
Absolutely. Inflation is up 5.4% over the past 12 months. Our national debt now is $28.4 billion or about 125% of Gross Domestic Product.
“With these factors in mind and all these factors I have worked for months with my colleagues to find a middle ground on a fiscally, and I repeat that, fiscally responsible piece of legislation that fixes the flaws of the 2017 Trump tax bill that I thought was weighted far, far, too far for the high-end earners ... . However as more of the real details of the basic framework are released ... what I see are shell games ... budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion [human infrastructure] bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full time is run out ... if you extend it permanently ... and that we haven’t even spoken about.
“This is a recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever misrepresent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is. While I have worked hard to find a path to compromise, it is 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. Enough is enough.”
Manchin then implored the House to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which it did on Friday.
As he turned to depart, he stopped and returned momentarily to the microphone.
“I’m not going to negotiate in public on this because I have been dealing in good faith and I will continue to deal in good faith with all of my colleagues on both sides. It’s time to pass a bill and quit playing games,” Manchin said.
With that, he left the podium. He has a real point here, you know.