BY C. Douglas Golden, The Western JournalMarch 11, 2023
1 year ago
 | March 11, 2023
1 year ago

Manchin Humiliates Biden for 3rd Time In Less Than a Week, Slams Admin's 'Partisan Politics'

After President Joe Biden and the Democrats got Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate by their party's standards, to sign on to their mega-spending "Inflation Reduction Act" bill last year, one might have assumed that the relationship between the Democrat establishment and the West Virginia maverick was back on easier terms.

Apparently not, if one is to judge by this past week.

For the second time in two days, Manchin announced he wouldn't be supporting a Biden administration nominee -- and this time, he slammed the administration's "partisan politics" in nominating hard-left candidates to fill positions.

In a Friday Op-Ed for the Houston Chronicle, Manchin announced that, "as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that I will not be moving forward the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of Interior."

The move comes a day after he became the lone Democrat to vote against confirming Daniel Werfel as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. While Werfel was still confirmed by a 54-42 vote and Manchin's dissent wouldn't have killed the nomination even if the vote had been along party lines, it was another sign not all is well between the West Virginia senator and his more liberal colleagues on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue.

“While Daniel Werfel is supremely qualified to serve as the IRS Commissioner, I have zero faith he will be given the autonomy to perform the job in accordance with the law and for that reason, I cannot support his nomination,” Manchin said, according to The Associated Press.

Two days earlier, he announced he wouldn't support Biden's controversial nominee to the board of the Federal Communications Commission, Gigi Sohn, potentially complicating an appointment process that has taken over two years, according to The Hill.

"Especially now, the FCC must remain above the toxic partisanship that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown she is not the person to do that. For those reasons, I cannot support her nomination to the FCC, and I urge the Biden Administration to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart,” Manchin said in a Tuesday statement, siding with Republicans on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee who have argued she's too far to the left.

The announcement means that, unless Sohn gets every other Democratic vote in the Senate -- which isn't assured -- and a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, her chances of making the FCC board are over.

In the case of Daniel-Davis, however, Manchin's vote of no confidence means her nomination is effectively tanked and won't get out of committee.

Explaining his decision in the Chronicle Op-Ed, Manchin referenced the Inflation Reduction Act and noted it "promotes the importance of using all fuel types in the cleanest way possible while also reducing emissions.

"It holds the administration’s feet to the fire by ensuring that they, by law, cannot issue leases for renewable projects unless they’ve first held lease sales and issued leases for oil and gas projects. Over the long-term, this could help increase production of renewable and fossil fuel energy, reduce energy costs for hard-working Americans and provide the means for America to support our most energy-vulnerable allies."

I'm not quite sure what Manchin was expecting when he cast his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that did as much to reduce inflation as dropping a dozen hydrogen bombs on Iowa would do to increase corn production -- but, as it turns out, Daniel-Davis had no intention of honoring those energy goals laid out in the IRA.

"Davis approved higher royalty rates for the Alaskan Cook Inlet sale, which were explicitly designed to decrease fossil energy production at the expense of our energy security," he wrote. "Even though I supported her in the past, I cannot, in good conscience, support her or anyone else who will play partisan politics and agree with this misguided and dangerous manipulation of the law."

And, in the Op-Ed, Manchin seemed shocked -- shocked! -- that the administration wasn't adhering to the energy compromises in the IRA that got the West Virginia senator on board in the first place.

"Instead of following the legislation designed to ensure America's energy security, they have chosen to illogically advance a partisan climate agenda and appease radical activists," Manchin wrote.

"In fact, over the last few months, both the Department of Treasury and Department of the Interior have explicitly and unabashedly violated the letter of the law, the intent of the law, or both, in an effort to elevate climate goals above the energy and national security of this nation. This is wrong and it must stop.

"For example, the Department of Treasury has grossly mishandled the implementation of the electric vehicle tax credits designed to curtail China’s dominance over this critical industry. Instead of abiding by the law, the department pandered to climate activists. With this in mind, I was unable to support Danny Werfel, the administration’s nominee to serve as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service."

H.L. Mencken had it right: “The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down.” This advice holds for voters, too. That said, Manchin isn't a dim bulb, either by general standards or the reduced expectations of Washington, D.C., legislators.

Yet, if we are to believe his outraged ingenuousness in the Chronicle Op-Ed -- which doesn't sound faked, although I can't tell you what's in Manchin's heart or mind -- one of the more cunning members of the Democratic Party had the football yanked away from him by Lucy Van Pelt when he decided to pull a Charlie Brown and put his faith in the Biden administration and his fellow party members.

Apparently, he thought that they'd actually follow through on energy independence and stop deliberately sabotaging carbon-based power to accelerate a suicidal switchover to renewables that can't possibly cover America's energy needs. He thought wrong.

Furthermore, let's go back to his reason for voting against Werfel for IRS commissioner: Manchin was surprised he wouldn't "be given the autonomy to perform the job in accordance with the law" by the Biden administration? Has he met these people? Of course he won't be given that autonomy -- the same way that his promise to not expand audits on businesses and individuals earning less than $400,000 a year is as empty as a peanut-butter jar in John Goodman's pantry.

That being said, now that Manchin fully realizes he's been had, he's managed to thoroughly humiliate Biden on the Werfel vote and completely tank Daniel-Davis' chances of being the assistant secretary of the Department of Interior.

In the case of Werfel, Manchin may not have sunk the nominee, but he used the opportunity to warn America that the president's promise to not create any additional taxation burden on everyday Americans was only really valid until he had the votes necessary to do whatever the heck he wanted. And, as for Daniel-Davis, the Democrats will -- gasp! -- actually have to come up with a nominee that puts America's energy needs first.

At least in the case of the Inflation Reduction Act, one wishes Manchin had realized what a debacle this would turn out to be before he voted for it. When it comes to holding Biden's feet to the fire, however, it's always better late than never.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: C. Douglas Golden, The Western Journal



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