Select Page

Manchin says “no” to Biden’s BBB

Manchin says “no” to Biden’s BBB

Senator Joe Manchin says “no” to President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) proposal. His decision has massive ramifications well beyond this one piece of legislation.  For many months, the West Virginia Senator has expressed his misgivings about the legislation – and he had a lot of them.  They come in three areas.

First was the size of the Bill.  In the earliest stages, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was suggesting a whopping $9 trillion dollar piece of legislation.  Only a crazy avowed socialist could have even contemplated such a ridiculous amount.  But that is Bernie.

Sanders agreed to a $6 trillion bill.  Still out of the range of economic sanity.  Finally, President Biden weighed in and set the marker at approximately $3.5 trillion.  Still too much for Manchin and others.  Reluctantly, Sanders and the progressive caucus agreed – but only if the Infrastructure Bill was linked to the huge Social Welfare Reconciliation Bill.  

Biden promised to keep the bills linked – as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Manchin disagreed – and several attempts to pass the linked bills had to be postponed.  As a result, Biden convinced Pelosi that Democrats needed at least the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill in time to help Democrat candidates running in the 2021 off-year elections.  That did not happen, and Democrats took a drubbing in those elections.

The hardcore progressives in Congress felt that they needed to keep the bills linked to maintaining leverage for the bigger Build Back Better Bill.  They were assured by Biden and Pelosi that their pet BBB Bill would eventually pass in the Senate even if unlinked.  Manchin would come around.  Consequently, the disconnected Infrastructure Bill was approved with the support of members of the Progressive Caucus, including its Chair, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.  The hardline progressives were correct – and they got played.

That left BBB standing alone – and Manchin still had lots of problems with it.  He still thought the Bill was too expensive and too big for a single vote.  In normal times, the various proposals contained in the BBB Bill would have been addressed in numerous pieces of legislation.  Manchin still believed that legislation of such monumental impact needed bipartisan support – especially in view of the Democrats narrow control on the House and Senate.

While the BBB bill was said to have broad public support, Democrat strategists failed to appreciate that there was a devil in the details.  A good portion of the public tended to also agree with Manchin’s concerns over specific issues.  

Manchin also had a problem with Biden’s and Pelosi’s legislative trickery.  They first sold BBB as a ten-year proposition at $3.5 trillion dollars.  They claimed to cut it back to $1.9 trillion – but that was accomplished by reducing many of the programs to much shorter lifetimes – some as little as one year.  The reduction in the cost was illusionary because the real annual cost was not reduced.  

Democrats then claimed that the 10-year economic impact was not applicable.  They wanted the cost scored by the Congressional Budget Office on the shorter time frames – even though they knew that once enacted, the programs would most certainly be extended ad infinitum.  It was legislative sleight-of-hand – and Manchin was not buying it.

Manchin – and the Republicans – were not about to be sucker-punched by Biden’s and Pelosi’s legislative chicanery.  Manchin looked at the cost on a ten-year basis.  He looked at the collection of programs contained in the supersized bill.  He considered the legislative trickery and decided that he could not – in good conscience — vote for the Bill.  He apparently determined that neither Biden nor Pelosi would be willing or able to make the necessary changes required to gain his approval – and even if THEY did, the progressives would vote against such a watered-down legislation.

Biden’s precipitous fall in the national polls also diminished his political capital at a time he needed it most.  He had less power to pull the fence-sitters in Congress down to his side.  While Manchin got the attention and the heat, there were other Democrats closely aligned to his thinking – and Biden was losing his ability to cajole them.

And then inflation took hold.  It was no longer the concern that BBB WOULD trigger inflation, but that it would contribute to the already occurring inflation.  Even if the Biden BBB proposal had merit in the past – and it did not – the sudden rise in inflation was the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back.  This was not the time to be pouring more fuel on the inflationary fire.

Up until now, Democrats have been treating Manchin with kid gloves – fearful that angry attacks on the West Virginia Senator would make it harder to persuade him to support BBB.  Now that he has said that he will vote “no” on BBB, the pent-up frustration has been unleashed – resulting in a chorus of attacks from members of the squad and old-line radicals like California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.  It has come in a tweet from White House Secretary Jen Psaki – approved by Biden — accusing Manchin of breaking his word.

Manchin is not the type to bend to pressure or even harsh criticism.  But the attacks could make it easier for him to justify a switch to the Republican side of the aisle. That still may be a longshot, but not as long as it was a few weeks ago.

Manchin could still change his mind on BBB before the likely GOP takeover of at least the House in January of 2023, but that is not likely.  The GOP winning control in the November off-year election would further chill support of Biden’s grandiose legislative agenda.

With BBB dead in its present form, Biden’s election reform bills are the last remnants of his legacy legislative agenda, and they appear to have little to no chance of passing both chambers without eliminating the filibuster – and may not pass even then.   Since neither Manchin and Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema – and possibly others — will not vote to abolish the filibuster, the so-called voting rights bills are most likely dead.

It is possible that Democrats can pass a few minor portions of the BBB Bill – or that Biden can pursue some temporary Executive Orders on the fringe.  But none of that will compensate for the failure of his major proposals – proposals that he believed would put him up there with Franklin Roosevelt.

Basically, all this means that with three more years in office, Biden may well be a caretaker President with no proactive legislative agenda.  Outside of a bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, he may have nothing upon which to place his imprimatur.   No social welfare bill.  No voting rights bill.  No immigration bill.  No solution to the border crisis and the surging crime.  No foreign policy victories – and maybe more setbacks.  And it seems his Covid policies are not working.

With his age and that sort of record … own Vice President not endorsing his announced intention to run for a second term … the progressives blaming him and Pelosi for the BBB failure, Biden may be entering the second year of his term essentially as a lame duck President.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

16 Comments

  1. Ben

    Like the father at Biden’s Christmas party for CHILDREN said, “ Let’s go Brandon”.

    I have no doubt that Pelosi and Biden will figure out a work around. After all, that is what a vast majority of Americans sent them to Washington to do. We aren’t letting an elite, multimillionaire, DINO, owned by his son’s coal mining company stop the progressive agenda that Americans want.

    By the way, Brandon won handily, and trump keeps losing lawsuit after lawsuit to keep his records out of the public eye. Like he said on the campaign trail, if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
    Happy Holidays!

    Reply
    • Charles ward

      People didn’t send Brandon to Washington to bankrupt the country. And his comrades in the democrat party are already planning to get rid of him. Trump won. Brandon is in office because of mass voter fraud The problem was that the comrades on the courts were either bribed or threatened and wouldn’t allow testimony from hundreds of people willing to testify about the crooked dealings and violation of voter laws. But never again.

      Reply
      • frank stetson

        “Trump won.” Prove it or stfu.

        Crickets……..again.

        Reply
        • Darren white

          Prove that he didn’t you stupid fool

          Reply
          • Ben

            Darren,
            Ok, I’ll prove that Biden won…
            Biden lives in the White House, trump doesn’t.
            Done.

          • frank stetson

            Are you really asking me to prove something that didn’t happen because you can’t prove that it did?

            Is that how it works?

            You made the statement: ” Trump won.” Current reality says you’re crazy wrong. 50 Court Cases confirm it. A dozen recounts, down by people you paid for, confirm it.

            You keep whining it didn’t happen and you say: ” Trump won.”

            prove it or stfu. Come on Mr. White, toe the line, stand up and show us. Prove the worth of your own statements.

            Or run crying into the night.

            Do I hear rapid foot steps receding? All bark, no bite. All farts, no facts.

      • Ben

        Charles,

        The last President added 2 trillion dollars to the National debt, not Biden.
        trump lost. He choked like a dog.
        Ask Rudy, Lind, faux “news”, and any other trump lackey about the dominion lawsuit to see if they still believe there was massive voter fraud.
        The radical right will continue to lose the popular vote in the general election, just as they have over the last 30 yrs

        Reply
        • Lowell

          Ant the president before him added 9 trillion. What’s your point?

          Reply
          • frank stetson

            Obama added $8.6T to the debt, nice rounding… .4T is chump change I guess…..
            That took eight years.

            Trump added $6.7T to the debt in four years from 2017-2020. If you look at 2021, Trump’s legacy budget added 966B to the debt, but actual numbers are $1.5T added from 10/20 – 10-21. He added $4.2T in 2020 alone, a new US deficit spending record. YUGE. And he never hit his promised GDP numbers indicating the economy never made it to where he said it would. Highest yearly GDP he got was 3% and two years were negative……

            What’s your point?

  2. VIETNAM VET 67-68

    BIDEN IS A TRAITOR, MURDERER, RACIST, TURNCOAT, CHINA TALKING HEAD COMMUNIST WHO HATES WHITE PEOPLE AND AMERICA OUR CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS !! I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS IN THE HEADS OF 40 MILLION IGNORANT DEMO-RAT VOTERS TO VOTE FOR SUCH A DO NOTHING PATHOLOGICAL LIAR SENILE ANTI AMERICAN SUCH AS BIDEN ????? HE HAS DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY IN 12 MONTHS AND MURDERED 13 OF OUR HERO’S AND ARMED 3 OF THE WORST AND BIGGEST TERRORIST GROUPS WITH $85 MILLION DOLLARS OF OUR BEST WEAPONS AND PISSED ON OUR TROOPS THAT GAVE THEIR LIVES AND BODY PARTS FOR OVER 10 YEARS FIGHTING AND BIDEN GIVES IT BACK IN 1 DAY LEAVING HUNDRED OF AMERICANS BEHIND !!! GO BRANDON !! VIETNAM VET 67-68

    Reply
    • frank stetson

      The author does not subscribe the following but instead uses a mirror to communicate back to VIETNAM VET; why such hate speak is allowed is beyond me, beyond rude, beyond good taste for any public venue aiming to uncover the truth of all things .

      VIETNAM VET 67-68 IS A LOSER, MY LAI MURDERER, ASIAN HATING RACIST, AMERICAN WAR LOSING TURNCOAT, TALKING HEAD TRUMPIST WHO ATTACKS ALL PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT RACES, RELIGIONS AND IDEAS. HE WHINED ABOUT COMING HOME TO NO PARADES AFTER BEING SUCH A HUGE LOSER. VIETNAM VET 67-68 HATES AMERICA OUR CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS !! I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS IN THE HEADS OF THIS FRINGE OF IGNORANT TRUMP VOTERS TO VOTE FOR SUCH A DO NOTHING PATHOLOGICAL LIAR SENILE ANTI AMERICAN SUCH AS DONALD J TRUMP ????? HE HAS DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY IN 4 YEARS AND MURDERED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF OUR CITIZENS WITH HIS COVID POLICIES WHILE BEING BEST BUDDIES WITH 3 OF THE WORST AND BIGGEST TERRORIST DICTATORS WHILE PISSING ON OUR TROOPS THAT GAVE THEIR LIVES AND BODY PARTS FOR OVER HIS FOUR YEARS LEADING TO HIS LEAVING HUNDRED OF AMERICANS BEHIND !!! VIETNAM VET 67-68 COULDN’T WIN HIS WAR, WHINED ABOUT HIS TREATMENT COMING HOME AFTER BEING A GIANT LOSER. PROBABLY STILL WALKS AROUND WITH HIS LITTLE GREEN COAT, SHAGGY HAIR AND BEARD, WHINING ABOUT HIS LACK OF APPLAUSE FOR LOSING.

      sorry, but that’s what you sound like on your side of the mirror; how do you like the reflection? Why Larry does not step up to respond to this crap is beyond me. At some point, silence is complicity, not support of the 1st amendment.

      Reply
      • Lowell

        It was Lyndon Johnson (D,Texas) that said we could not win that war BEFORE we were in it, and then sent me over there anyway. So “let’s go Brandon” you, Frank Stetson!!

        Reply
        • frank stetson

          If you had read the piece, perhaps your knee-jerk reaction might have been different. Instead of being a complete tool, you may have realized as I said, “The author does not subscribe the following but instead uses a mirror to communicate back to VIETNAM VET; why such hate speak is allowed is beyond me, beyond rude, beyond good taste for any public venue aiming to uncover the truth of all things.” That is still true and regardless of your experiences, you should deplore it too. Perhaps more so as it reflects on you, given his starting position of being VIETNAM VET.

          I agree that LBJ said that. Further, LBJ entered the war based on the misinformation from the Gulf of Tonkin incident fighting against a man who favored the US Declaration of Independence, in writing, to an earlier President in 1945, who filed it under “funny things little brown men say.” Yes, LBJ a Democrat, and worse yet a man who felt the need to appear manly before his 1964 election, entered the War and yet, never fully committed, not that it would have changed the ultimate outcome.

          the 1945 Vietnamese declaration: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5139/ IF we had only listened, talked, and thought.

          Could we have won that war? I had an acquaintance from North Vietnam; don’t go off, his family had money, they travelled South in 1967, and kept going to America. But he told me, growing up, he would be in bed when the bombs came, lifted him out of bed, and dumped him on the floor. His reaction was to get into bed again and go to sleep. My conclusion was it would be very hard to beat a people that lived, loved, and grew up in that environment where there is always War, it’s the normal way of life. Americans love to fight but we are warriors, not brutal thug murderers. Wining that war would be similar to the English beating us. What would that have taken?

          I was in the draft lottery, at the end, figuring you are much older than I, guess you could say got lucky but not much risk given the wind down in 72, did not want to go, would have not gone to Canada but probably jail. I spent my time fighting against it, took some hits over that, lost some opportunities, nothing like what you went through, but there was some danger.

          I appreciate your, and VIETNAM VETS service to God and country, and to me, a longhair from Maryland at that time. I spent some time after the War working with paraplegic Vets, mostly Black due to the nature of the War, in sports and felt, first hand, the anger and frustration of many of the wounded. It is real. It is valid in my book.

          But there is not excuse for the rude behavior of VIETNAM VET and if my “mirror image” post has tweaked a nerve, good. Sorry to offend, but he is offensive. Very.

          Reply
          • Carlos adkins

            What does the soldiers being black have to do with your experience? And you are a draft dodger. Big deal. You and bill Clinton have something in common

  3. Rat Wrangler

    I could fix the BBB bill, but no one would listen to me anyway. I would eliminate the sections on college loan forgiveness first, and then put in a clause that requires businesses to pay at least twice minimum wage for all jobs that require a degree. Less than 40% of decent jobs in the 1960s required degrees, but now you have to have one to be a high school janitor. I would remove a lot of the child care sections, and try to get decent jobs back into this country. Very few working Americans needed child care before the 1970s, as most households were two-parent, one-income households. All foreign aid should be removed from the bill, because sending money overseas is not building back America.

    Reply
  4. frank stetson

    Once again, we agree, spending needs to be curtailed, deficit too high, debt too high. I used debt/GDP as the measure Although Trump recklessly took it to the highest lever ever, 128.+ with the worst spending program on top of ill conceived tax cuts, a double jeopardy, Biden has so far only lowered it to 122.+ which is still in the “highest ever” range. Just not a record yet, like Mr. Donald J. Trump. Hopefully, we will never catch that one. (fyi – to be fair, you have to give some 2021 creds to Trump, perhaps even the full year).

    But, like most pugnacious pundits (since you choose to use adjectives for liberals, democrats, etc,, that’s fair game, you started it, so stop) everywhere, you focus on the bottom line and seem to care little about the variety of programs, each of which should be measured against the other, and against existing spending, for viability. I would love to discuss those issues.

    IMO, the bottom line is Joe M. is in his rights to disagree. However, he has done the right thing, just the wrong way. Biden is right to call him out on his manner of doing things —- blindsided by a Fox Joe M. interview.

    So, the ball is in his court, both Joe’s need to come to agreement and Joe B. needs to make it happen in the House; I believe the Senate won’t be that hard after that. I am pretty sure we will have a program, just smaller. As to what to cut, not in my wheelhouse, haven’t really studied it, Larry hasn’t made it a priority here, and so it goes.

    A few sidenotes: yeah, Bernie still one crazy guy but love to have him in the room. Same might be said about Rand before he got so mean that blindside tackling him mowing the lawn seemed almost funny. Sorry, but Rand votes to hurt folks, routinely now. But use Ron, back when integrity and truth mattered for Republicans, and you get my drift.

    Linking/shrinking, just the game of making law. Pelosi/Biden — more like Biden/Manchin then Pelosi/Schumer… Progressives screwed, absolutely, they were screwed upon the election. Like catching covid, it was just a matter of when enough would be enough. Not sure this is, but it sure will hurt.

    As far as lame duck, you tell me, you guys are the master giving Trump’s dismal record of getting anything done beyond EO’s and judicial appointments, and even the later was more Moscow Mitch than Trump. Those thoughts seem as bogus as predicting the midterms or how many gifts wouldn’t arrive before Christmas or that leaving Afghanistan would militarily cripple us. All false flags. IMO

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Do you work in medicine, read actual scientific research papers? It’s disgusting the name calling of those who hold different…

  2. Larry, Good luck with that. I am in the same situation. VAXXED to the MAX Moderna and in age category…