On the eve of the Georgia senate runoff elections president elect Joe Biden told voters at a rally in Georgia that the fate of the $2,000 stimulus checks was in their hands, that only by sending Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate, thereby removing Mitch McConnell as majority leader, could his administration move forward with a Coronavirus Relief bill that would include the $2,000 checks. Georgia voters responded, and in a stunning turn of events both Warnock and Ossoff pulled off victories that will reduce McConnell to minority leader, clearing the way for the kind of relief America really needs. Ummm… maybe.
Enter West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe” turd in the punchbowl” Manchin, apparently eager to try out his newfound power as the Dem Senator who can call the shots on what will, or will not, make it through the 50/50 senate.
In an interview yesterday with the Washington Post, Manchin, referring to the $2,000 stimulus checks, said ” Absolutely not. No.” He later walked back the remarks a bit as markets tanked on reports of his comments, though it still appears he’s willing to quibble about the details even as the country reels from the death toll, hospitalizations and economic devastation of a pandemic run amuck.
While it’s not at all clear that Manchin’s opposition could actually derail the $2,000 checks, since several GOP Senators have signaled support, it’s a disappointing start to a Biden administration that hasn’t even started yet.
Given the current dire state of the country on any number of fronts, the democrats best bet in getting us all beyond the Trump years is to propose and fight for New Deal style legislation that can carry us through, and well beyond, the pandemic, stabilize the economy, materially improve the lives of as many Americans as possible and lower the political temperature overall, thereby incrementally and consistently marginalizing Trump’s most ardent supporters, as well as the congressional republicans who aided and abetted him. Now is not the time for Joe Manchin to do his best RoJo impression. This is truly an “all hands on deck” moment.