Joe Manchin's 'selfishness' and focus on his personal interests are behind an anti-budget vote: columnist
Senator Joe Manchin. (Credit: Third Way Think Tank)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared on CNN Sunday asking why President Joe Biden's 2022 budget proposal is so important that it must be passed so quickly.

"Do we have the urgency to spend another $3.5 trillion right now?" Manchin asked.

Writing for the Washington Post on Sunday, James Downie made it clear that Manchin is basing his decisions on pure "selfishness."

Americans hurt during the pandemic understand the "urgency" that Manchin questions. They lost jobs, couldn't pay rent or mortgages, struggled to feed their families and some lost their health or even their lives. In West Virginia, former President Donald Trump promised he would bring back coal jobs. The promise continued for four years of his presidency with no results. They're not the only ones who have been waiting for help for over four years, but they are the ones Manchin should be the most familiar with.

If not on the heels of a pandemic and recession, when would be a good time for Sen. Manchin to agree to help the American people?

Downie argued that it's bizarre that Manchin would argue that the deficit matters regarding the budget bill but not to the infrastructure package that he already voted to support.

"But these arguments apply equally to the infrastructure deal and the budget reconciliation bill," he wrote. "Any concerns about the debt or inflation should surely also apply to the $1 trillion for infrastructure, and there's no deadline that necessitates rushing it, either."

"If you don't need bridges fixed or roads fixed in your state, I do in West Virginia," he replied. "I need Internet in West Virginia. I got water and sewage problems. I have got all the problems that we have addressed in the bipartisan infrastructure bill," Manchin said in an interview with ABC.

Downie drew attention to one key letter repeated over and over by Manchin. "I, I, I. This isn't unusual phrasing for Manchin."

He cited a New Yorker profile where the senator rattled off the fears he has about the West Virginia economy. They were all about him too.

"I can't lose one job. I don't have one to spare," said Manchin.

"The decisive factor for Manchin isn't the debt, the pandemic or the inflation rate. It's that one bill has what he wants, and the other doesn't," said Downie.

But the other bill does have what Manchin's state needs. Desperate coal miners are looking for jobs and many can't afford the high prices of training programs or even community college. Biden's proposal fixes that. The infrastructure package focuses on employment in predominantly male jobs, but the budget bill would focus on jobs traditionally held by women in West Virginia. Eldercare jobs, child care jobs, home health aides, pre-school and Kindergarten teachers are jobs frequently done by women that would be funded under Biden's plan.

In another column by Jonathan Capehart, the MSNBC host explained that getting elected in West Virginia doesn't happen from helping voters. It comes from helping major, multi-national corporations and Wall Street donors. Biden's budget doesn't do any favors for those groups.

Read the full column at the Washington Post.