Recently, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that he was a “no” on the Build Back Better Act, despite having engaged in lengthy negotiations over the exact formulation of the legislation, which — if enacted — would support initiatives like fighting climate change and improving health care access. Manchin’s decision to oppose moving forward with the legislation means that, for now, it’s stopped in its tracks — because of the close party breakdown in the Senate, Democratic leaders could not afford to lose a single vote. The Charleston Gazette-Mail — serving Manchin’s hometown of Charleston, West Virginia — recently spotlighted West Virginians who are getting left behind amid Manchin’s antics.
Manchin’s blockade of the Build Back Better Act means that the expanded child tax credit, which was doled out in monthly payments this year to support certain families with children, was halted. (The bill, if passed, would further extend the credit.) As the Gazette-Mail explained things, the “lapse of the child tax credit, which was only worth up to $2,000 per eligible child and did not include 17-year-olds prior to 2021, is expected to have a disproportionately great impact on children in West Virginia — and the local economies that their parents support.” From the child tax credit payments, West Virginia obtained an increase in purchasing power as a portion of gross domestic product in the state that was among the highest of any state in the country.
Meanwhile, the Gazette-Mail also noted how “West Virginia had the highest percentage of people with a disability under age 65, second-lowest median household income, third-highest percentage of people 65 years and older and fourth-highest percentage of people in poverty in 2019,” per federal data — meaning that the state stands poised to benefit to a substantial level from the provisions of the Build Back Better Act, if they’re enacted. The paper published a relatively comprehensive breakdown of certain key points in discussions of the bill, showcasing community members in West Virginia who’ve pleaded with Manchin to support the legislation. Those who spoke out in favor of the bill ranged from 75-year-old home health care provider Denzel Norwich to a woman named Holly Bradley who saw her and her husband’s income slashed by $1,000 a month but who was temporarily supported by the child tax credit payments.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail, Joe Manchin's hometown paper: "'We need this so bad': Build Back Better backers say bill would protect West Virginia's most vulnerable as Manchin resists."https://t.co/3cq4GgxMan
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 20, 2021
That coverage seems to have been put together before Manchin’s announcement of his “no” decision on the Build Back Better bill, but subsequently, the same paper published another piece about this issue. This time, it was an opinion piece by West Virginia resident Eric Engle, who absolutely clobbered Manchin over the most recent developments. As Engle put it in that West Virginia paper:
‘I’m sure Manchin’s industry and corporate backers were thrilled to hear Manchin’s Fox News announcement. What a great return on investment. But working families, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, people with black lung disease and those of us who understand the extreme urgency of addressing anthropogenic global climate change certainly are not. This one senator, who represents just 1.7 million people out of 340 million Americans, is putting a stop to what over 81.2 million Americans voted for when they voted for Joe Biden.’
Engle added that observers “all know why Manchin is taking this stance. Manchin benefits to the tune of approximately $500,000 annually from his coal brokerage, Enersystems, a brokerage held in what is apparently a not-so-blind trust. Enersystems sells filthy waste coal to the Grant Town Power Plant, which the plant burns at an added cost to MonPower ratepayers like me of over $117 million in the past five years.” Read more here.
Op-ed by Eric Engle: "Manchin has never negotiated in good faith on the Build Back Better Act legislation, he has only made endless demands and jumped from one nonsensical point of opposition to another." https://t.co/pfZnAuHTbU
— Charleston Gazette-Mail (@wvgazettemail) December 21, 2021