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Follow the Money Into Joe Manchin’s Pockets

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Lots of ink has been spilled this year trying to figure out what makes West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin tick. Is the Senate’s crucial swing voter a Machiavellian political genius out to save the Democratic Party from itself, or just a media gadfly enjoying his moment in the sun? Is he fighting for his legacy and the interests of West Virginians that national policy leaves behind?

Manchinology is back with a vengeance this fall, now that the senator has announced he may not cast a deciding vote in favor of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, and instead wishes to delay voting on it until 2022. The spending measure is vital, not least because it could represent America’s last best chance to pass something resembling climate policy for at least a decade. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn attracted attention. Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as his fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is impossible to predict.

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand........

© New Republic

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