Democrats Set To Play Hardball with Manchin
Senate Democrats appear to be bracing for a hardball approach to pressuring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Manchin will have to repeatedly defend his opposition to popular programs, including an enhanced child tax credit, lower Medicare prescription drug prices, and subsidies for child care costs.
Democratic aides say the West Virginia senator can expect tougher treatment from Schumer and other lawmakers under new pressure from the base for failing to follow through on the “big bold” agenda they promised earlier this year.
“He has had absolutely no pressure,” said one Democratic aide, citing Manchin’s friendly meetings at the White House and Biden’s home in Delaware this fall.
“Biden’s got to grab him by the lapels and say, ‘Listen, this ends now,'” the aide added, warning there’s little chance of passing another piece of major legislation before the 2022 midterms if Build Back Better fails.
“He’s going to blow up the president’s agenda, so I think you have to play hardball, but there are different ways to play hardball,” said Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist.
“He’s making them look ineffective,” Jarding added.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a regular critic of Manchin’s, called his refusal to support Build Back Better “an egregious breach of the trust of the president.”
“Of course, we have every right to be furious with Joe Manchin but it’s really up to leadership in the Democratic Party who made the decision to get us to this juncture and how we’re going to move forward and I think right now that the Democratic leadership as a very large number of tools at their disposal,” she said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“And it’s really about time that we take the kid gloves off,” Ocasio-Cortez added.