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Member since: Fri Jun 7, 2019, 02:43 PM
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Manchin says he won't back $1.75 trillion economic agenda bill without 'greater clarity' about its e

Source: CNN

Sen. Joe Manchin said he won't support the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill Democrats are negotiating until there is "greater clarity" about the impact it will have on the country's national debt and the economy, a warning sign for Democratic leaders trying to pass a pair of legislative packages key to President Joe Biden's agenda as soon as this week.

"Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy and most importantly all of our American people," Manchin said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Manchin also called on the House of Representatives to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and warned, in an implicit rebuke to progressives, that "holding this bill hostage" won't work in getting him to support the larger social spending and economic package. Manchin has been non-committal about that larger package since Biden released a framework, but reiterated major concerns today.

The moderate Democrat from West Virginia has been coy about his views of this proposal, despite months of efforts by Biden and his team to court the senator to back a pared back plan. But Manchin has been concerned about a number of proposals, including an expansion of Medicare.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/01/politics/joe-manchin-biden-agenda/index.html

So, Manchin shows us exactly where he stands... right smack in the way blocking the Build Back Better reconciliation bill.

After all the negotiations and all the concessions made to appease him and all the one on one talks with the President at the White House, Manchin still flat out refuses to support President Biden's agenda.

So much for his "negotiating in good faith"...

Note: This was posted with the complete original headline, but CNN updated the article and now leads with the headline:

Manchin warns he may vote against Biden social safety net plan as he criticizes key aspects

Sen. Joe Manchin said he won't support the $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion bill Democrats are negotiating until there is "greater clarity" about the impact it will have on the country's national debt and the economy, casting major doubt about whether President Joe Biden can get his agenda through Congress.

At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Manchin laid out fundamental concerns over the approach that Biden and his party are taking in their sweeping agenda. He rejected the party's push to expand social programs and castigated Democrats for using "gimmicks" to hide the true cost of the plan and said far more time is needed to evaluate its economic impact to guard against potential negative consequences.

Despite months of a lobbying campaign by the White House to win over Manchin, including by cutting the price tag in half and making cuts to key programs, the West Virginia moderate's comments indicate that Democrats may never be able to win his support on this proposal.

"I'm open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward, but I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country," he said in a warning shot to his party.

The comments come at a critical time for Biden's agenda and are a major blow to party leaders who had been hoping to imminently pass the social safety net plan along with a separate $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Democratic leaders had been trying to pass both measures, which are key to Biden's agenda, as soon as this week. Manchin's comments make clear that is unlikely to happen.


Lincoln Project Claims Credit For Tiki Torch Stunt By Glenn Youngkin's Bus

Source: Huffington Post

The anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project took credit Friday for five people appearing with tiki torches at a Charlottesville campaign stop by Virginia's GOP candidate for governor, a stunt recalling white supremacists who descended on that city amid violence in 2017.

Charlottesville TV station WVIR covered the campaign stop and reported candidate Glenn Youngkin was inside a restaurant when the group dressed in matching hats, khakis and white button-down shirts appeared beside his campaign bus. The former private equity executive and political newcomer is in a close race against former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe as Tuesday's Election Day nears.

Photos showed the group holding large tiki torches. Their appearance recalled two days of chaos in August 2017, when white supremacists gathered in the college town for a "Unite the Right" rally ostensibly to protest the planned removal of a Confederate monument.

McAuliffe staffers promoted a reporter's tweet about the group's appearance, using it to attack Youngkin and suggesting that those holding the torches were his supporters. Youngkin staffers accused the McAuliffe campaign or Virginia Democrats of being involved, drawing disavowals. "What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize," McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Bolling said in a statement. The Democratic Party of Virginia issued a statement saying neither the party nor its "coordinated partners and affiliates" had anything to do with "the events" at the campaign bus stop.

The Lincoln Project then weighed in, saying it was behind what it called a "demonstration." "The Youngkin campaign is enraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump's candidate," the group said of the former president.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/virginia-governor-tiki-torches_n_617d33b9e4b0657357495b20

This was a stupid stunt by the Lincoln Project, it lends credence to all the rightwing nuts that keep claiming the 1/6 insurrection at the Capitol was a "false flag operation".

To be honest, I was fooled by this and thought those were actual Republican fascists holding those torches.

Perhaps its important to remember that the Lincoln Project members are still Republicans.

They might hate Trump, but is it possible this was a stunt to damage McAuliffe's campaign by getting Democrats to react to it as being real?

I just don't know...

Sinema and Manchin Flush With Lobbyist Contributions as They Hold Up Biden Agenda

Amid ongoing Build Back Better negotiations, lobbyists have stepped up their contributions to Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, the sole Democratic holdouts against advancing the Biden agenda through the Senate.

Manchin and Sinema are the 2018 Senate class’s top recipients of contributions from lobbyists. In the first half of 2021, Sinema (first elected to the Senate in 2018) received $408,000 in contributions from lobbyists, 150% of what she received at the same time last year despite not being up for re-election until 2024. Manchin (re-elected in 2018) received $512,000 from lobbyists, nearly three times as much as last year. Together, the two top the list of their Senate cohort—both Democrats and Republicans—in donations from lobbyists, which include direct campaign contributions from lobbyist and/or lobbyist-controlled PACs, costs of lobbyists attending/organizing fundraisers, or sponsorship of events promoting Manchin or Sinema.

To place these quantities in perspective, the typical six-year electoral cycle means that Senate candidates receive the highest volume of lobbyist contributions in the year or two running up to their elections, followed by a trough until the next cycle. Manchin’s 2021 contributions are now at the same level as his election year, and Sinema has received a steady stream of lobbyist money into her coffers since taking office. Both are taking in lobbyist contributions at more than three times the rate of the average Senator.

The data presented provides real-time evidence that Sinema and Manchin’s obstruction of the Biden agenda is being rewarded by lobbyists seeking to influence their legislative priorities. In this case, those priorities are to smother provisions like negotiated pharmaceutical pricing through Medicare and a just transition to renewable energy, measures that directly target the interests of Big Pharma and Big Oil. This comes as new DFP polling shows Sinema at a severe disadvantage for a potential primary challenger in 2024.


What a surprise....

House progressives endorse Biden's pared-back spending framework, likely making passage 'when, not i

Source: The Week

Thursday was full of ups and down for President Biden, his agenda, and perhaps the success of a crucial climate change summit, starting with the president laying out a $1.8 trillion framework he said congressional Democrats could all support — and ending with the failure of House Democrats to give final approval to a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"Progressives were triumphant, but the rest of the Democratic caucus was seething," Politico's Katherine Tully-McManus reports. "I think it's wholly apparent that today was not a success," Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) said Thursday, blaming unidentified "obstructionists" for "not delivering" the infrastructure bill "because apparently failing roads and bridges can just wait in the minds of some people."

"But just when it looked like the day would end in embarrassment for Democrats, the Congressional Progressive Caucus issues a surprise endorsement of the president's compromise plan — removing one of the last big obstacles in its way," Politico's Rachael Bade recapped Friday morning. This endorsement "was drowned out" by the CPC's decision to block the infrastructure bill until it gets more assurances about the details of the $1.8 trillion framework and its fate in the Senate. "But the dispute over sequencing masked a major achievement for the president: Hill progressives now appear ready to swallow this deal — and that means it's likely a matter of when, not if, it passes."

The restive centrists of the Senate Democratic caucus, Sens. Joe Manchin (W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), also "offered positive comments about the deal, but without committing to vote for it," The Washington Post reports. But they got most of what they asked for in the negotiations. Progressive Democrats had to give up a lot. "We wanted a $3.5 trillion package, but we understand the reality of the situation," CPC chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told reporters Thursday night.

Read more: https://theweek.com/joe-biden/1006571/house-progressives-endorse-bidens-pared-back-spending-framework-likely-making

The restive centrists of the Senate Democratic caucus, Sens. Joe Manchin (W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), also "offered positive comments about the deal, but without committing to vote for it," The Washington Post reports.

What's keeping Manchin and Sinema from committing to vote for the framework now?

If they just did that on Thursday, the infrastructure bill would have passed the same day!

Do Manchin and Sinema really want ANY form of the Build Back Better bill to pass?

Call me when Manchin & Sinema PUBLICLY support ANY form of the Build Back Better bill

Until then it's all just sound and fury.

And by support, I don't mean vague handwaving, I mean a public commitment to vote for an agreed upon framework.

I'll wait here.

Bluewater's advice to fellow progressives

Don't be left holding the bag on the Build Back Better agenda.

The progressives in Congress have supported President Biden's agenda and have fought hard negotiating with obstructionists like Manchin and Sinema. God bless them all.

But once President Biden presents the best bill he has been able to obtain with the senate divided 50-50, please just pass it and pass the infrastructure bill also.

We are at that moment where it's time to move the ball forward and get our Democratic party in the best shape possible for the midterms in 2022.

Just my humble opinion, your mileage might vary.

Facebook announces its new name: Maximum Zuckage

Hawaiian real estate is very expensive, don't use adblockers on facebook, Zuck needs the revenue.

Interesting that we call ours billionaires instead of oligarchs....

Only bad countries like Russia have "oligarchs", we have kind hearted billionaires avoiding taxes, buying senators, and having their very own "tourism" space rockets.

Big difference.

The billionaire-tax loophole hunt is on

DEATH AND TAX AVOIDANCE — The fine print of the billionaire tax being proposed by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has yet to be released, but Robert Willens is already getting calls about how to evade it.

Not from one of the 700 or so people in the country with more than $1 billion in assets who would be affected by the tax, he says, but from some of the people who handle such matters for them.

Willens is Wall Street’s go-to tax guy, the person hedge fund managers turn to for advice. He is said to charge clients $75,000 a year. Nightly called him to see how he plans to counsel billionaire clients about how to avoid paying Wyden’s potential new tax. He said there’s not much he can tell them now: Tax avoidance is usually in the loopholes and gray areas and technicalities of such laws. But, he added, if Democrats manage to pass the tax and it survives an expected constitutional challenge, it would be hard for his ultra wealthy clients to finagle their way out of it.

“This is going to be perhaps the most difficult tax we have ever seen in terms of trying to plan to minimize it,” said Willens, a former managing director at Lehman Brothers who has been working on taxes since the early 1970s. “I believe this is going to be the biggest challenge we have ever had.”

Under current law, if someone owns a business or a piece of art or a property or a spaceship or NFT that rises in value, they don’t have to pay taxes on those gains until they sell it.

You could argue that those unrealized gains don’t put any more money in their bank accounts, but wealthy people often borrow money against the value of their assets to buy other fun stuff. They don’t have to pay taxes on those loans because they aren’t income. Borrowing against unrealized gains from assets is partly how many very wealthy people end up paying a smaller share of their money in taxes than most Americans. A ProPublica investigation dubbed this strategy, which concludes with a tax-free transfer to heirs, “Buy, Borrow, Die.”

The proposed Wyden tax would require billionaires and people who make more than $100 million a year for three consecutive years to pay taxes on the increased value of their assets, whether they have sold them or not.


A 30-Year Campaign to Control Drug Prices Faces Yet Another Failure

Democrats have made giving government the power to negotiate drug prices a central campaign theme for decades. With the power to make it happen, they may fall short yet again.

When a powerful Democratic Senate chairman assembled his Special Committee on Aging to confront what he called a “crisis of affordability” for prescription drugs, he proposed a novel solution: allow the government to negotiate better deals for critical medications.

The year was 1989, and the idea from that chairman, former Senator David Pryor of Arkansas, touched off a drive for government drug-price negotiations that has been embraced by two generations of Democrats and one Republican president, Donald J. Trump — but now appears at risk of being left out of a sprawling domestic policy bill taking shape in Congress.

Senior Democrats insist that they have not given up the push to grant Medicare broad powers to negotiate lower drug prices as part of a once-ambitious climate change and social safety net bill that is slowly shrinking in scope. They know that the loss of the provision, promoted by President Biden on the campaign trail and in the White House, could be a particularly embarrassing defeat for the package, since it has been central to Democratic congressional campaigns for nearly three decades.

“Senate Democrats understand that after all the pledges, you’ve got to deliver,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Finance Committee.

“It’s not dead,” declared Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

But with at least three House Democrats opposing the toughest version of the measure, and at least one Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, against it, government negotiating power appears almost certain to be curtailed, if not jettisoned. The loss would be akin to Republicans’ failure under Mr. Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after solemn pledges for eight years to dismantle the health law “root and branch.”


I wish the media would stop referring to people like those three House Democrats and Senator Sinema as "moderates".

As a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, I find calling anyone opposing this core Democratic position a "moderate" to be an insult to actual moderate Democrats.

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