Despite Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) loss in the Democratic primaries to Joe Biden last year, the avowed democratic socialist politician managed to achieve a portion of his stated ambitions simply by pressuring the new president to move leftward as he devised his policy agenda, resulting in an infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better legislation filled with much that progressives could support.
As we’ve unfortunately discovered, the Democratic-controlled Congress has been unable to pass Biden’s agenda thus far, primarily due to the refusal by two of the Democratic Party’s so-called “moderate” senators, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), to agree to support the bill which needs a full 51 votes to pass as part of the reconciliation process.
Senator Sanders recently attempted to apply some of the same pressure that he used on Joe Biden on his West Virginia Senate colleague by penning an op-ed in a local newspaper in Manchin’s home state that challenged the coal-industry funded lawmaker for his opposition to a bill that contains multiple provisions that would enhance the lives of the majority of his constituents.
Calling the proposed reconciliation bill “an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes,” Sanders used his op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail to explain the components of the legislation which would help address the climate crisis, lower prescription drug prices, expand Medicare, continue cash payments to working-class parents, and make community college tuition-free.
“Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation,” Sanders explains. “Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote ‘yes.’ We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin,” he pointed out.
“This is a pivotal moment in modern American history,” Sanders continued. “We now have a historic opportunity to support the working families of West Virginia, Vermont, and the entire country and create policy which works for all, not just the few.”
Sanders’ incursion into Manchin’s home territory was something that the West Virginia Senator simply could not countenance.
Senator Manchin immediately issued a statement essentially labeling the Vermont Independent socialist a carpetbagger trying to import his free-spending ideals to the good, coal-country folks in his native state.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 15, 2021
Manchin’s reactionary statement essentially means that Democrats will be forced to scale back their ambitions for what they can achieve through legislative means despite their nominal majority control of both the White House and both houses of Congress, all because of the whims of one man — and his female counterpart in Arizona — both of whom are raking in enormous donations from industries facing negative consequences from the proposed reconciliation bill.
The reaction to Senator Manchin’s tweet attacking Bernie Sanders faced considerable derision on Manchin’s own Twitter timeline.
@Sen_JoeManchin There is so much more that West Virginia can do other than Coal. This is an opportunity to turn WV into a climate change center! Think about lifting up the level of education in your state! There is so much more you can do for your constituents and the world!
— Justin Kase (@Justin_Kayse) October 16, 2021
…sounds like a monarchy. The king of West Virginia bestowing money and power onto his offspring (princess and prince) who, in effect, are natural heirs to the throne.
— ARPE (@derelict41) October 16, 2021
Whatever happened to conflict of interest or recusal because of the conflict? C'mon, someone please scream "Foul!"
— Mpaps282 (@mpaps282) October 16, 2021
That was before the republican lobbyists paid him off.
— Bullet Proof (@NicoleFeddersen) October 16, 2021
SOCIALISM works great for the rich and corporations. Mr. Buffet is an example! We are not supposed to even talk about "workers rights"!
— Dr AM (@DrAMPhD) October 16, 2021
Let's never forget that his daughter boosted the price of epi-pen outside the range of most users' incomes.
— There is a new dawn over America (@corvus13) October 16, 2021
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.