Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin
By Quardricos Bernard Driskell, opinion contributor — 06/11/21 05:31 PM EDT
Arguably, one of the most powerful men in Washington is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He is the moderate, centrist swing-decision-maker in the Senate, where President Biden’s legislative agenda is contingent upon his vote.
Democrats received a big win in March with the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passage. They know Biden is trying to move a progressive agenda through his nominees, executive orders and policy decisions, but they still need Congress to pass significant legislation. And that’s not happening, thanks in part to Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and other moderates in the Senate.
Such major legislative agenda championed by the Democrats include: D.C. statehood, which is not faring well; immigration reform is nowhere; the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission bill was filibustered; gun control is stalled. The American Families Plan has big problems. The American Jobs Plan may not fare as badly, but it won’t survive intact. You can probably forget about a significant rewrite of the tax code, although the White House and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are pushing hard on a “global minimum tax.” And most recently, progressives grew more furious about Manchin’s op-ed decision not to support the Democrats’ election reform bill known as the “For the People Act.”
The attacks from liberals have been swift and breviloquent on Twitter and news channels. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) suggested that the Senator’s op-ed should have been entitled, “Why I’ll vote to preserve Jim Crow.” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) labeled Manchin as the “new Mitch McConnell.” Additionally, Rev. William Barber, a religious progressive and leader of the Poor People’s Campaign, is organizing a “Moral March on Manchin” in West Virginia.