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After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that he would not support President Joe Biden’s “Built Back Better” plan, Democrats and liberals claimed that Manchin was harming his own constituents by not supporting the bill.
But a top business leader in West Virginia says their rhetoric was all bark and no bite.
What did critics say about Manchin?
An article published in the New Yorker summarized the liberal talking points about Manchin putting political interests ahead of his constituents.
“To the West Virginians who begged him to support the anti-poverty programs in the Build Back Better bill, his rejection reflects a fundamental seclusion from the needs of people which he is no longer willing or able to perceive,” the article stated.
“To such critics in the state, Manchin has become an icon of Washington oligarchy and estrangement, a politician with a personal fortune, whose blockade against programs that have helped his constituents escape poverty represents a sneering disregard for the gap between their actual struggles and his televised bromides,” the article said.
But what is the truth?
According to West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts, Manchin’s critics are flat wrong.
“What I am finding is that West Virginia supports Sen. Manchin in his decision to say this is not the right Build Back Better bill,” Roberts said Monday on Fox News.
“I think West Virginians have found out the stakes are high and they come with high consequences. This bill has been proven to be inflationary in the short run. It has been proved and scored by the Congressional Budget Office to add to the national debt. It creates uncertainty for 53% of the parents whose children who are in religious-based childcare,” he explained. “For us here in West Virginia it taxes energy production and adds to the cost of natural gas.”
“I think all of those things cause us in West Virginia to say that Sen. Manchin is right,” Roberts said.
In a separate interview, Roberts said that he received an outpouring of positive feedback from West Virginians after Manchin announced he would oppose the Build Back Better Act. The only negative feedback came from non-residents, Roberts explained.
West Virginia residents who spoke to the media after Manchin’s announcement corroborated what Roberts said.
“I support him 100% not letting Biden take all the money and spend it the way he does. Our country is already in bad enough shape,” Truby and Jackie Thompson told WVVA-TV.
“I like the fact that he’s voting no,” Diana Anderson agreed. “I think we’re giving too much away. It’s good to help those in need, but sometimes those folks need to help themselves.”
Meanwhile, Rebecca McPhail told Fox News that Manchin’s decision does not disappoint her, for the impact of the Democratic agenda is obvious.
“From supply chain and workforce shortages to the rising cost of goods and services, West Virginia businesses are struggling. These are the very businesses that rushed to action in response to COVID. Adding on additional taxes to small business to pay for the myriad of programs in the plan would crush their ability to recover and compete in a global economy,” McPhail said.
“These massive bills seem to be designed to confuse the American people — a few issues become the rallying cry in the hopes that everyone will ignore the hidden elements that propel a certain agenda,” she said.