Sen. Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Sen. Joe Manchin

Senator Bernie Sanders is fed up and is speaking out. He’s ready to unload on Senator Joe Manchin and publicly declare that he is “intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda” and blocking “what the American people want.”

This week, the conservative Democrat from West Virginia announced that he is refusing to support two major provisions in President Biden’s economic package. Sen. Manchin will not support tax increases on the rich and spending initiatives to thwart climate change. 

This is most likely the final nail in the coffin for Biden’s vision of transformative economic changes. For that matter, it’s the nail in the coffin for the unity of the Democratic Party which has constantly worked to gain Manchin’s support. 

Sanders was so worked up in an interview with journalist Martha Raddatz that he couldn’t even wait for her to finish her question. 

Senator Manchin Votes Against Biden’s Economic Package

“Sen. Joe Manchin, of course, abruptly pulled the plug this week on the Democrats’ plans to pass,” Raddatz began.

Sanders jumped right in and said, “No, Martha. Let me respectfully disagree. He didn’t abruptly do anything. He has sabotaged the president’s agenda. … Six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin — [and] Sinema, to a lesser degree — who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about this.”

The Independent from Vermont also said that the real problem was that the party continued to talk with Manchin, believing that he was serious. Sanders said he was not. 

“This is a guy who’s a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires,” Sanders kept saying. 

Raddatz followed up when she could get a word in, “You say he wasn’t serious. Manchin says his main goal is to do what’s good for West Virginia, and he’s worried about inflation.”

Sanders seemed incredulous, “Really? Really? Is that right?” He responded with the idea that Manchin is doing what he thinks is best for his constituents. He said after pointing out that West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country, “it’s the same nonsense Manchin has been talking about for a year. You ask the people of West Virginia whether they want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and eyeglasses. You ask the people of West Virginia whether we should demand that the wealthiest people and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes. Ask the people of West Virginia whether or not all people should have health care as a human right like in every other country on Earth. That’s what they will say.”

Sanders ended his rant against Manchin by saying that he represents the wealthiest people in this country, and he does not represent working families in West Virginia or America.

This position for Manchin is not new. He opposed an earlier version of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. This legislation included plans to lower health care costs and expand access to health care. It proposed fixes to immigration and help for families with childcare. And it focused on climate change.

But Manchin has been reluctant to throw money at climate change. Those who oppose him says that he is deeply vested in oil and coal. 

The West Virginia senator has fought tooth and nail to keep the state’s coal mines open.

Jeff Goodell from Rolling Stone Magazine wrote about a conversation he had with Maria Gunnoe, director of the Mother Jones Community Foundation and a longtime West Virginia activist. He wrote that Joe Manchin would absolutely throw humanity under the coal train without blinking an eye. And he quoted Maria Gunnoe, “My friends and I have a joke about his kind: They’d mine their momma’s grave for a buck.”

So, Manchin is fielding some pretty intense stuff from Sanders and the like. But for many in America, he is a hero.