Senator Joe Manchin doesn’t appreciate being played by Vice-President Kamala Harris on behalf of the Biden administration. The reality that Team Biden really doesn’t have any intention of working together with those who may disagree with them is, for some reason, a surprise to the senator from West Virginia.
Vice-President Kamala Harris sat down for interviews with West Virginia television stations via Zoom this week but Manchin wasn’t given a heads-up about what she was doing. It’s not surprising that Manchin was upset about being left out of the decision. Harris went around Manchin in order to try to sway locals to support the American Rescue Plan legislation which the Biden administration supports. It would have been common courtesy to let Manchin know about it and even better to include Manchin. Manchin told a local station that being excluded wasn’t the way for him to be treated. “We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together.” “That’s not a way of working together.”
But U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was surprised by the Harris interview in his state, claiming no one from the administration had called him to discuss the appearance, WSAZ-TV of Huntington, W.Va., reported.
The communication gap was a departure from the national “unity” theme that Harris and President Biden have promoted, he suggested.
Joe Manchin is one of two senators who find themselves in new positions of power. Senator Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are both moderate Democrats, a dying breed of politician in office today. Both have voiced objections to the costs of the behemoth legislation that Congress is looking at for COVID-19 relief assistance to American families and businesses. Included in the package is money for vaccination programs. Harris highlighted the need for vaccines to people so that the economy can grow stronger.
In order to pass the American Rescue Plan legislation, Manchin and Sinema have to be on board with the other Democrats. One of the sticking points for Manchin is the stimulus checks that are included in the relief package. Manchin thinks only those truly in need should receive a check, not those who have been fortunate enough to continue to receive their normal wages.
When asked about the plan, Manchin said he believed the stimulus checks should go only to those in need, not to everyone.
“We want to help everybody that needs help,” Manchin told WSAZ. “But if a person is making $250,000 or $300,000, I don’t think they’re in much as need as a person making $40,000 or $50,000. We’re going to target it.”
One reporter asked Harris why Trump voters should trust the Biden administration. That was a legitimate question, given the sneaky way Harris is going about drumming up support for the legislation – like the very interview she was conducting. She gave a fuzzy, generic answer, as she typically does.
“Because we have faith in the American people,” she said. “We ran as Democrats, but we are Americans and we will lead as Americans. We want our country to be strong, we want our country to be healthy, we want our children to thrive, and that’s the bottom line. That’s why we’re doing this.”
Joe Manchin should have known better than to trust either Harris or Joe Biden. He’s not some naive babe in the woods. He’s the former governor of West Virginia and he’s been in the Senate since 2010. He knows how people around him operate. If he wants to exert his new leverage, he’ll have to do better to get his message out to his voters. Letting Kamala Harris get the better of him isn’t a good look. Joe Biden has no interest in ‘unity’. He has signed 40 executive orders and actions since he’s been in office, only ten days. That number well exceeds anything his predecessors did in their first days in office. Biden intends to find a way to get his agenda accomplished, with or without people like Manchin. Manchin should have known the unity message was just a campaign slogan.
In a similar move on Thursday, Kamala held a conference call with senior editors and reporters with The Arizona Republic. Andy Slavitt, who is the senior adviser for the White House COVID-19 response effort, was also on the call. The focus was on vaccine distribution. Slavitt noted that while the number of cases is slightly declining in Arizona from recent higher numbers, the percent of positive tests remains high at 17% and nursing homes are still battling rampant outbreaks.
“We have the challenge of course of making sure everyone understands that they are safe, that we should take some pride that there are American scientists who actually developed the vaccine and that we want people to get the vaccine as soon as they are able and eligible,” said Harris, who received her second dose of vaccine on Wednesday.
“By getting this bill passed we can then have a national vaccination program, and that is extremely important. You know that in Arizona … the federal government has got to support states to do what is necessary to have the infrastructure and the resources and the equipment to make sure that the largest number of people are getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
There is no need to look any further than to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, along with other anti-Trump partisan cohorts in Congress, for the reason some people are hesitant to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Harris and Biden both made a big deal out of saying they would hold off on vaccinations until they were sure that the process hadn’t been rushed due to political pressure from Trump. Naturally, people listened to their anti-vax rhetoric and now hesitate over the safety of taking a vaccination. Harris and Biden helped create the problem. It was campaign rhetoric that regular people took seriously.
The call to the Arizona newspaper, the most influential newspaper in the state, was meant to pressure Senator Sinema. She, like Manchin, wants a more reasonable piece of legislation. This was Harris’s way of going around her to get the word out in her state. I doubt that Sinema was given any indication that the vice-president was going to do this. Both senators have to be on their toes and play offense against the hyper-partisan Biden administration. The administration has much to prove, including competency, and so far has fallen short on that. For example, Biden’s plan on COVID-19 is no different than Trump’s. Biden, a career politician, talks a big game yet has a history of failing to deliver on much of anything.