Joe Manchin, the Democratic U.S. senator from West Virginia, may finally see the writing on the wall and realize his time in politics is coming to an end. Manchin, who held onto his Senate seat by just over 3 percent during his most recent reelection bid, is likely to squander any of the goodwill he has generated among his constituents with his recently declared support for the latest reconciliation bill in the Senate.
After presenting himself as a foil to many of the Biden administration’s leftist legislative goals, Manchin has come to an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about dedicating “hundreds of billions” of federal funds to “deficit reduction,” raising taxes on American industry, and emboldening green energy initiatives.
Manchin has insisted that passing the reconciliation bill will bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, but the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) disagrees. According to NAM, the bill intends to raise $313 billion, nearly half of which will be generated by imposing a 15 percent minimum corporate levy on domestic manufacturers.
This new tax is expected to reduce real GDP by $68.45 billion, eliminate more than 200,000 jobs, and decrease the income of laborers by $17.11 billion.
The bill also, according to Manchin, “addresses our nation’s energy and climate crisis by adopting commonsense solutions through strategic and historic investments that allow us to decarbonize.” According to a summary of the bill from Senate Democrats, the bill would “put the U.S. on a path to roughly 40% emissions reduction by 2030, and would represent the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history.”
Effectively, the bill incentivizes the manufacturing of green technology while disincentivizing most other forms of industrial production.
In West Virginia, the coal industry employs more than 30,000 residents with $2 billion in wages and a nearly $4 billion effect on the state’s economy. And along with coal, the state’s economy is essentially reliant on its manufacturing sector.
In 2020, Donald Trump carried West Virginia by nearly 30 points, and in 2018, Manchin barely maintained his seat during a Democratic wave election. Despite this, Manchin is choosing to support legislation that will most certainly negatively affect his constituents and his state’s economy.
Manchin is not up for reelection until 2024, but considering the increasingly Republican landscape of his home state and his willingness to sabotage the livelihoods of the people who put him in office, it grows more and more likely that this will be the last time he is in office.