Joe Manchin says no to build back better

Last Sunday, Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared on no less than five Sunday news shows to tout the positive aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act, a reconciliation spending bill that Manchin had just said one week prior he could not support. The American media has either blasted or lauded the bill, particularly if non-partisan watchdog groups say that the bill will break Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 annually.

All of Washington was surprised at the about face Manchin had done regarding the bill; now it appears that Manchin has taken a defensive posture where the bill is concerned. The media in West Virginia has published stories claiming that coal companies – one of the chief industries in Manchin’s home state – are against the bill. Some individuals in the coal industry in West Virginia spoke out about the effects the bill will have on the bottom line of coal companies.

Chris Hamilton, West Virginia Coal Association president, says, “(The bill) is a massive blow to the coal industry.” Hamilton was just one of the leaders in the industry to sign a scathing letter to Joe Manchin regarding his support of the bill. Manchin addressed the issue, saying that the bill will actually benefit the coal industry in years ahead. However, Hamilton and others in the coal industry say that not only will the bill “hit the coal industry hard,” but it will do so at a rate twice that of other businesses.

Major corporations making more than $1 billion per year will pay a fifteen percent tax in addition to other taxes required, and the coal industry will then have to pay a tax on the very thing the industry produces – coal. According to Hamilton, “It fully authorizes and empowers EPA to go after every coal plant in the nation. It subsidizes all of our competing fuels including wind and solar and expands renewable credits and it incorporates nuclear energy into these credits.”

Manchin hit back on these criticisms, however. He said on Thursday that it would not do what is claimed by the coal industry. He’s also claiming that the bill doesn’t raise taxes on those making under $400,000 annually. He also says the bill will help to grow the economy.

Multiple Senate aides spoke with Fox News Digital this week, and they anonymously detailed the backlash Manchin faces. “He is clearly defensive in his TV interviews, and he’s getting blasted pretty hard in West Virginia.”

The aides asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation as well as the sensitive negotiating that is still going on regarding the Inflation Reduction Act.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) quietly acknowledged that she would support the bill Thursday night. Reports hold that Sinema wanted the tax for carried interest language to be removed from the bill, and indications are that by Saturday, when the Senate is expected to release a revamped version of the bill, that portion of the original proposal will be removed.

One Senate aide pointed out “drops of sweat” on Manchin’s face when he makes television appearances to promote the Inflation Reduction Act, particularly when he is pressed on the bill. Media anchors such as Harris Faulkner and Brett Baier are two individuals who have respectfully pressed him on the issue of new taxes for low- and middle-income individuals, particularly after the Taxation Committee said that the bill would indeed increase taxes.

Sinema only said she would support the bill if the carried interest portion was removed; this is a tax break that “benefits hedge funds and investment managers.” Sinema’s statement said, “Subject to the Parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward.”

The Parlimentarian will now look over the bill to ensure that it is possible to move forward with a simple majority vote; the bill would only need all fifty of the Democrats to vote “yea” and, prospectively, the Senate would call in Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote.