Joe Biden’s presidency is in full-scale collapse. Whether it’s his crashing approval ratings, the vaccine mandate going down in flames, or the kibosh being put on the Build Back Better agenda, the last several weeks have not been kind.
During Biden’s recent presser, he was asked about his litany of failures and what the next step would be. That led him to introduce a “plan B” in which he’d break up his agenda into “chunks” and pass them that way.
“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest later,” Biden told reporters. “There’s two really big components that I feel strongly about that I’m not sure I can get in the package. One is the child care tax credit and the other is help for the cost of community colleges.”
To start, that’s not how reconciliation works. The bites at the apple are limited, which is something Nancy Pelosi pointed out — though she didn’t name the president for obvious reasons. Democrats can’t break Build Back Better up into six or seven smaller bills and pass them one by one unless they have Republican support, and there’s no scenario where that’s forthcoming in an election year.
But if the logistics of Biden’s proposal weren’t unworkable enough, Joe Manchin came flying in off the top rope and immediately shut down the idea. In doing so, he twisted the knife even deeper by saying that his previous proposal, which progressives loaded up with abortion funding and other Manchin red-lines, is no longer even on the table.
That “worst week ever” is quickly turning into the “worst month ever.”
What stuck out to me here was that Manchin’s demands before he’ll deal with Build Back Better are unattainable, at least prior to the 2022 election. There is no possibility that the White House can fix the inflation issue this year. Likewise, COVID will continue to linger, and the national debt is a colossal problem that will take generations to deal with. And that’s assuming any politicians even take up the task, something most have been loathe to do.
You’ve probably picked up on where I’m going with this by now — Manchin is clearly running out the clock at this point. He knows that by this time next year, Republicans will be in control of the House and likely the Senate as well. Every single time Democrats cave to him, he just throws up another obstacle. It’s too obvious to ignore that he keeps pulling the rug out from under his own party.
Democrats would gladly take his compromise package at this point, but he’s pulled it off the table completely. Clearly, if Manchin wanted to pass something, there’d be a deal by now. He knows that what’s in his best for him is for nothing to get done.
Past that, these are the fruits of Democrats trashing Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema publicly for the last several months, with some going so far as to accuse them of racism. In some alter-universe where the White House and the progressive flacks remained civil, maybe Manchin gives them some scraps. But he has no incentive to do that now, not electorally and certainly not personally.