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A Principled Man In the U.S. Senate

After U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin announced over the weekend he could not support the purported $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tut-tutted that Manchin would have some explaining to do when he got home to West Virginia.

Sanders got it backwards. Manchin, D-W.Va., would have had a lot of explaining to do if Mountain State residents believed he planned to support a massive, expensive and largely unfunded social spending bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the real cost of Build Back Better would have been more than $4.5 trillion.

“I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation,” Manchin said Sunday.

Make no mistake, Manchin understands the need for federal funding to make real improvements for West Virginians. That is why he, in addition to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., already voted in favor of the separate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which is set to send nearly $6 billion to the state for highways, bridges, public transit, airports, energy and natural resources, abandoned mine lands, broadband deployment, and water and sewer investments.

Those things are happening because Manchin, Capito and McKinley know full well they work for West Virginians, and not for the Biden administration or the politicians and lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

In signaling he would not vote for Build Back Better, Manchin let Biden and Co. know he could not support trillions of dollars in new spending to attack fossil fuels, fund an expanded child tax credit, grant amnesty to illegal immigrants and significantly enlarge the Internal Revenue Service.

“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face,” Manchin said. “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills, with no end in sight.”

Good.

Manchin has been able to resist enormous pressure through this process precisely because he answers to West Virginians, and he knows it.

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