OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has been a thorn in the side of President Joe Biden since the start of his presidency and he is not backing off.
Two times last week he refused to support the president’s nominees, which he believed were partisan, for important positions.
In an op-ed Friday published in the Houston Chronicle, Manchin announced that “as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that I will not be moving forward the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of Interior.”
That came after Manchin was the sole Democrat to vote against Daniel Werfel’s confirmation as the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Although Werfel was still confirmed by a 54-42 vote, and Manchin’s dissent would not have impeded the appointment even if the vote had been along party lines, it signaled a growing rift between him and his more progressive colleagues on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue.
“While Daniel Werfel is supremely qualified to serve as the IRS Commissioner, I have zero faith he will be given the autonomy to perform the job in accordance with the law and for that reason, I cannot support his nomination,” Manchin said, according per The Associated Press.
As per The Hill, two earlier, Manchin had disclosed that he would not back Gigi Sohn, who is Biden’s controversial nominee to the board of the Federal Communications Commission — which may have complicated her appointment process even further after more than two years.
“Especially now, the FCC must remain above the toxic partisanship that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown she is not the person to do that. For those reasons, I cannot support her nomination to the FCC, and I urge the Biden Administration to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart,” Manchin said in a statement on Tuesday.
Last week Manchin went after his party again. During an interview on MSNBC, left-wing host Stephanie Ruhle tried pushing Manchin on why he won’t support radical proposals.
Ruhle kicked the segment off by asking Manchin: “When is the last time you spoke to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Progressive members of the Senate to work on this?”
After saying he speaks to them every Monday on a conference call, Manchin said: “I am not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, and not a conservative, ultra-conservative. I tell people, I am fiscally responsible and socially compassionate. Put me anywhere you want in the political spectrum, I am centrist in the middle where most are, pragmatic enough to figure I understand, you identified the need on this side. We have already spent how many trillions of dollars attending to many of the needs. How much more can we afford? You want more debt. I looked this morning, we’re at $28.5 trillion of debt. How much more can we add on and pass on to your children, the next generation? We’ve always said, we’re writing checks our kids can’t cash and it is a shame to put on the burden. Let’s consider that.”
Ruhle then doubled down again and asked about Democrats accusing him of “standing in the way of President Biden’s agenda.”
She was trying to bait Manchin into saying he’d support Democrats’ radical bills, but he didn’t fall for it.
“I hear from as you said, I hear from everybody, I get attacked from different sides. Also, we get some praise from different sides trying to take a pragmatic, centrist approach. People are concerned about the debt, but nobody is speaking about the debt. We have a tremendous amount of debt that could cause inflation,” Manchin said.
“You understand the financial market and understand it as well as anybody, what we are rocking with here. Let’s get this right. We already put close to $6 trillion out to people. Our economy is coming back, comes roaring back,” he added.
“Now we’re not able to meet demand by supplying what the economy wants. The demand says give me more workers, more products. We’re having a hard time. If you do another 2, 3, $4 trillion, we may have a hard time with the tax code, adjustments I believe need to be made. I didn’t vote in 2017 for the tax code, I thought it was weighted for the wealthy,” he added.
Manchin concluded: “I didn’t think the average working person got their due share. Let’s make some adjustments. On the other hand, we’re in a global market, not isolationist, and never going to be isolationist. We have to be in the global market and lead the world. If you’re going to do that, you better be competitive. Can’t be out of the realm of not being competitive, people want to invest or come to your country or manufacture here.”