Tag Archives: Joe Manchin

Infrastructure needs to pass

The numbers aren’t the source of the disagreement, or at least they shouldn’t be the source.

What needs to happen with President Biden’s infrastructure package is that moderate and progressive Democrats need to find some common ground. They need to develop a compromise that enables the rebuilding of our infrastructure, with at least a nod toward some of the tangential issues associated with it, to proceed.

We need to fix our roads, bridges, airports, ship channels and the like. The cost is going to be huge no matter the number they settle on.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia Democrat, has decided that $3.5 trillion is too much too soon. I disagree with him, but that’s just me. He is the man in position to affect legislation. He wants to pare it back … a lot! I only would implore him to avoid taking away the quality of life improvements contained in the legislation being discussed.

Whether it’s $3.5 trillion or $1.5 trillion or any number between those bookends, there needs to be some progress shown toward rebuilding our infrastructure.

They say it’s best to avoid “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” We won’t find perfection in a deeply divided Congress — or between that body and the White House.

There is a lot of good to be harvested. Let’s find it and enact it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Sen. Manchin is making me crazy

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin seems to know how powerful he is, being an influential “moderate Democratic member” of the Senate.

He is flexing his political muscle with glee.

Manchin speaks in favor of the infrastructure plan that puts a gleam in President Biden’s eye … and now he says Congress and the president need to “pause” on the effort to spend $3.5 trillion to fix our nation’s roads, bridges, rails, airports, ship channels, Internet and other matters.

Why? Because it’s too costly. Manchin, the cagey West Virginian, now stands as the one senator who can put the whole damn thing into dire jeopardy.

Which it is, Sen. Manchin? It looks to me, sitting out here in the peanut gallery, that Manchin is using his muscle to satisfy a politician’s ego.

That would be his own.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This is ‘good government’?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joe Manchin is tying himself up in knots.

The West Virginia Democratic member of the U.S. Senate has become the Man of the Hour as his fellow Democrats wrestle with how to keep alive a comprehensive voter law.

Manchin is thought to be the most conservative member of the Senate Democratic caucus. Democrats need him to vote “yes” Tuesday on a procedural vote that keeps alive the For the People Act. The bill has zero Republican support. It needs all 50 Senate Democrats to sign on to send a message to the GOP caucus that Democrats also stand united in favor of a bill that seeks to protect against states’ efforts to roll back voter access to millions of Americans.

Former President Obama has signed on to a compromise offered by Manchin, which to my way of defining the term is the essence of “good government.” Manchin appears to be enjoying his role of go-to guy on this landmark legislation. He has said what he would support and what he would oppose.

A deadlocked Senate won’t break a GOP filibuster, but it does send a message that this notion isn’t going to wither and die just because Democrats can’t end a Republican filibuster.

So it falls on Sen. Manchin to vote “yes” on something that isn’t perfect in his mind. Then again, legislation that becomes law usually contains some elements that displease someone within the legislative branch of government.

I’m not exactly holding my breath on this one. I just want to wait along with the rest of the nation to see whether Joe Manchin keeps this key legislation alive.

By all means, ‘look at’ birthright citizenship, but then …

Don’t mess with the 14th Amendment provision in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States of America.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, says that the status of the amendment is worth “looking at,” but adds that Donald J. Trump is mistaken if he thinks he can get rid of it through an executive order.

Manchin, who is fighting for re-election in a state that Trump won in 2016 by a lot of vote, often is the rare Senate Democrat who sides with the Republican president. His view that birthright citizenship is worth examining doesn’t suggest he wants to get rid of it, but that it’s worth a closer look than many of us have given it.

The Hill reported: “I think there’s a lot can be done and a lot can be controlled, but he cannot do it by an executive order,” the senator added, arguing that the president can’t unilaterally change the Constitution.”

Trump raised millions of eyebrows across the nation by declaring his desire to issue an executive order to rescind part of a constitutional amendment. He cannot do it through executive action. His new BFF in the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he plans to introduce legislation to deal with the birthright citizenship matter.

The president’s tactic is a ploy aimed at pleasing and firing up his political base. That’s the name of that game. The amendment has been on the books for 150 years. It became an issue only because Donald Trump decided to make it one.

As for whether it deserves a closer examination, sure thing. Do it. Take whatever time you need to look at it.

My own preference is that Congress should leave it alone.

Senate approves surgeon general … finally!

For the first time in I don’t know how long, the United States has a top doctor.

He is Vivek Murthy, who today was approved by the U.S. Senate to become the nation’s next surgeon general.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/senate-approves-obama-pick-for-surgeon-general/ar-BBgQAMd

Despite his sparkling medical credentials and the work he has done to combat HIV/AIDS, senators had held up his nomination because he has spoken out against gun violence, calling it a public health issue.

Imagine that. A physician wanting to control gun violence because bullets injure and kill people.

His confirmation vote today was 51-43, with Republicans overwhelmingly opposing him because he is no friend of gun-rights advocates. Some Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in opposing Dr. Murthy.

One of them was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who issued a statement opposing the doctor because, according to Manchin, his political views muddled his medical policy. I understand why Manchin joined other senators in opposing Murthy. It’s because he’s scared of gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and the potent political power they possess.

That doesn’t make it right.

Vivek Murthy is perfectly qualified to serve as surgeon general. His views on gun control are well-known, but they do not infringe on his ability to help set medical policy or recommend measures to promote good health on behalf of the Obama administration.

Indeed, had their been a surgeon general on board during the recent Ebola mini-scare, there might not have been a need for the president to appoint an “Ebola czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the disease’s arrival in the United States.

OK, so that task is done. We have a surgeon general. It’s good to know that at least 51 senators had the guts to vote in favor of hiring a chief medical officer to advise the nation on how to take better care of its health.

 

Talks to head off shutdown to begin … maybe

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are considered two moderate voices within their respective parties.

They now chair an ad hoc collection of senators called the “Common Sense Caucus.” Their mission is to head off another federal government partial shutdown.

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/commonsense-caucus-could-stave-off-second-shutdown-100435.html?hp=t1

Will they succeed? Well, their only chance to succeed will occur if the real negotiators fail to do their job. They have until Dec. 13 to produce a deal to fund the government. That group is led by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. It comprises equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, as charged in the deal that ended the first government shutdown in October.

Personally, I’m not holding my breath for anything substantive. I’m betting they’ll nibble around the edges of the larger issue — which must include a long-term tax increase along with serious budget cuts in programs no one wants to cut, such as Medicare.

Heck, I’m not even holding out for any serious hope Congress can avoid another shutdown.

We’ve seen this act many times already. Everyone says they want to work together. Then they quarrel and bicker, taking the nation to the brink of fiscal collapse.

Collins and Manchin are reasonable folks. So are Murray and Ryan. Among the four of them, can’t they come up with a reasonable long-term solution to this ridiculous spectacle?