by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It seems that a Senate vote on President Biden’s gargantuan Build Back Better Act has been delayed until next year. “The decision,” NBC reports, “is based on simple math — Schumer doesn’t have the 50 votes needed to pass the legislation thanks to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who remains a hold out.”
Senator Manchin should remain a holdout next year, too.
There would be no way to reconcile Senator Manchin’s voting for the Build Back Better Act with all that he has said over the last six months. Senator Manchin has said that the bill cannot exceed $1.5 trillion in size. But the bill the House passed spends $1.95 trillion. Senator Manchin has said that he does not want to see any accounting “gimmicks” underpinning the project. But there is no possible way for the bill to survive without them. Senator Manchin has said he is worried that “shell games” will “make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full time is run out.” The CBO’s latest analysis makes it clear that he is exactly correct in this fear. Senator Manchin has proposed that inflation, not Democratic pipe dreams, should be the primary concern of the federal government. The most recent economic reports explicitly justify his alarm. Senator Manchin has submitted that “spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity.” This represents a perfect description of the Build Back Better agenda. If Senator Manchin believes what he says, there is no way he can acquiesce to this folly.
And if he doesn’t believe what he says? Then he should listen to his constituents.