Manchin and McConnell are petty and peevish, and neither should have any power in the Senate

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrive to hear Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska deliver remarks in an address to members of Congress in the Visitors Center Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol on July 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. Zelenska spoke about the victims of the ongoing war against Ukraine and asked for weapons and air defense systems to help the war effort. (Photo by Jabin Botsford - Pool/Getty Images)


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So based on the understanding from Manchin that the remains of BBB—a climate, health, and taxes budget reconciliation bill—just weren’t going to happen, McConnell allowed Biden (and 16 Republicans in his conference) a win on the majority semiconductor, or CHIPS, bill. That was supposed to be the last big thing they passed. The thing is, McConnell had made a threat to filibuster that bill, the semiconductor one, if Democrats insisted on passing the Inflation Reduction Act unilaterally, as they could under budget reconciliation.

“Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill,” McConnell tweeted at the time.

That threat from McConnell, in turn, pissed off Manchin, so he decided to give Schumer his vote and just to rub McConnell’s nose in it, announced the agreement just a few hours after the Senate passed the semiconductor bill. And McConnell lost it. To hear Republicans talk, it was the biggest betrayal that ever happened. They’re going all in.

“I do know that back during CHIPS that McConnell did say that he had assurances from Manchin” said a Republican aide. “Manchin says what he thinks people want to hear. McConnell heard what he wanted to hear.”  

“He felt he was burned and his credibility was damaged,” Sen. John Cornyn said of McConnell, adding that “trust was eviscerated” by Manchin. “He was angry about it.”  

“Sens. Manchin and Schumer did not draft this 725-page bill in the four hours between the passage of the CHIPS Act and Senator Manchin’s press release. They’ve been working on this the entire time when they told us it was off the table,” Cornyn railed. “To look you in the eye and tell you one thing and to do another is absolutely unforgivable,” he said.

McConnell got him back in the end, in a remarkably petty and self-owning way. The usually calculating leader had a chance to really screw over Democrats when time came for Manchin’s pay-off from Schumer for his vote on the IRA. That was the bill Manchin insisted on to green light a pipeline project in his home state and relax permitting processes for all energy developments—something Republicans had been trying to get done for years. He wanted that attached to the must-pass government funding bill.

McConnell was so peeved at Manchin that he denied Republican support for that bill when he could have used it to screw with Democrats, who were seriously at odds over it. The House hated it and dozens of members were opposed to it being included in the funding bill. Some Senate Democrats were equally opposed, not to the point of threatening a government shutdown, but that was what was at stake. McConnell was just so pissed at Manchin, he refused to exploit that. He refused to screw over all the Democrats by forcing them to have this internal fight.  He chose instead to deny Manchin any chance of passing his pet project.

Which goes to show, neither of these guys can be trusted and they totally deserve each other. We are all the winners: Manchin’s dangerous proposal on mining and fossil fuel projects was defeated (at least for now) and the government didn’t shut down. All because of McConnell and Manchin’s pissing match.

But it also shows that it is a very dangerous thing to allow Joe Manchin to continue to have the power he’s got in the Senate. We’ve got to have an expanded majority that makes Manchin obsolete.

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