Manchin’s hard “ No ” towards Build Better Better Act, a complicated story

For months, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin have said inflation and national debt are two big concerns for him, that he cannot support a social spending bill that is inessential  or weakens the financial strength of the United States.

This Sunday, he released a new statement sought to explain his refusal to vote on the Build Better Act, which essentially put an end to President Biden’s hope to pass the social spending package this year.

Manchin mentioned in the statement,  “For five and a half months, I have worked as diligently as possible meeting with President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues on every end of the political spectrum to determine the best path forward despite my serious reservation. ” 

He continued, “ I have always said, If I cannot go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it ”.

Manchin’s concern on a large level reflected a conflict inside the democratic party. Progressives in the Democratic party may have won their local elections in a landslide, but that is not the case for some Democrats who emerged from close victory among swing states or conservative states in America. The demography of constituents are totally different within the democratic party.

Manchin came from a solid red state where his constituents are comprised of many Republicans and Conservative Democrats. In 2020, President Donald Trump won nearly 70% of casted votes in the state of West Virginia, expanding his victory margin greatly from 2016. Manchin had won the state in 2018, his victory margin is rather small even after a moderate campaign to win voters from opposite party lines. Instead of bashing about Trump, his strategy has always focused on bipartisan cooperation. Consequently, any legislation he supported or voted on would have to appeal to a large groups of Trump supporters in his state.

Unlike Senator Sinema from the State of Arizona, Manchin’s approval rate was largely intact due to the demography of Republican support in recent months. Republicans as well as Conservative Democrats championed on Manchin’s fiscal conservative approach. For Manchin, a lot of things would have to be negotiated upon or even changed in the Build Better Bill. For example, the clean energy agenda simply went too far from the perspective of West Virginia, where coal-fired electric power plants accounted for 88% of the state’s electricity generation, according to an EIA report in 2020. Various incentives and rules to curb greenhouse emission will result in a conflict with business industries in West Virginia.

In a 50-50 Senate, Manchin certainly holds a lot of power for the victory of President Biden and the Democratic party, but at the same time, there is no political will or benefits for the senator to make a change to go along with his democratic colleagues on this bill. 

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