The Senator Takes Millions of Dollars from the Coal Industry to do their Bidding
On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he’s a no for the Build Back Better plan, puncturing holes in the hopes of Democrats to pass the bill. This $1.9 trillion spending plan is majorly focused on reducing the cost of healthcare and childcare, tackling climate change, and building better infrastructure.
In a statement released after his interview, he repeated his stand, “I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation.”
His reasons? Well, mostly ridiculous, however, he claims that the Build Back Better plan would reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face.” Strange enough, America is already facing threats from within; with democracy breaking down, possibilities of insurrection, Republicans trying to take power in several states. So what threats is he possibly talking about?
By threat, he meant the national debt. He said, “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores, and utility bills with no end in sight. … As the Omicron variant spreads throughout communities across the country, we are seeing COVID-19 cases rise at rates we have not seen since the height of this pandemic. We are also facing increasing geopolitical uncertainty as tensions rise with both Russia and China.”
If the bill is passed and enacted, he says it will “risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains.”
Now, what happens if the Build Back Better plan isn’t enacted? Americans will stop receiving the monthly child tax credit (per child cash credit of up to $300), which has seen a drastic reduction in hunger rates and child poverty. The Huffington Post reported from sources familiar with the negotiations that Manchin’s against child credit because poor parents might use that money on drugs. Wow.
Recent surveys showed 3-4-year-olds in pre-K programs are likely to go to high school and even college. Other surveys have also shown that children going to Pre-K programs are also less likely to end up arrested, or unemployed as adults.
Well, of course, America’s future is threatened. If the children are prevented from growing due to poverty, hunger, and lack of proper education, how will America stay afloat?
Another significant issue is tackling climate change. As it is, recent years have shown erratic weather changes, with floods and unusual forest fires. With the rising temperature, rising seas, biodiversity extinction, Americans’ quality of life will decrease. That is another threat.
And Russia and China? None of them represent a direct threat to the US and also recently the Senate passed a Pentagon budget of $770 billion. The military budget has increased since 2012. So, exactly what is the real threat?
Since he is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he was actively seeking changes in a portion of the bill which included, methane fee emissions from energy producers. Manchin is benefiting from the fossil fuel companies and according to his recent financial reports, Manchin gained $492,000 alone due to his non-public shares in Enersystems. Manchin’s 2020 income for being a senator is, however, $174,000. So of course, his corruption and greed are going to decide for him as to how he votes for a social spending plan that includes tackling climate change. Coal mining is one of the industries on top of the list that donates money to him.
Other than that, he wanted changes in paid family leave and also Medicare expansion to cover hearing costs. In the end, his nonsensical reason boiled down to the fact that Democrats were arguably hiding the true costs of the bill by relying on temporary programs year after year and that the expansion of child tax credit would have significant impacts on federal spending.
Well, Republicans praised Manchin for the decision, however, his fellow Democrats lashed out at him. Senator Sanders to CNN, “We have a corrupt political system dominated by big money interest.”
He also added, “I think he’s got a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia, to tell them why he doesn’t have the guts to take on the drug companies, to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Why he is not prepared to expand home health care? Why he doesn’t want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eyeglasses. He’s gonna have to tell the people of West Virginia why he is rejecting what the scientists of the world are telling us, that we have to act boldly and transform our energy system to protect future generations from the devastation of climate change.”
Between 2011 to 2020, Manchin made $4.9 million to $5.1 million from coal-related industries. He also received donations between July-September from energy-related political actions committees, even those affiliated with ConocoPhillips, Texas Oil Producer Pioneer Natural Resources, and utility companies Exelon and Dominion Energy.
So yes, what is the threat? The threat is that he will be losing millions of dollars in support of millions of Americans and the future. That’s the bottom line of it and so he says no.