Coal Baron Joe Manchin Pitches Climate Bill To Former Green Party Activist Kyrsten Sinema

Coal Baron Joe Manchin Pitches Climate Bill To Former Green Party Activist Kyrsten Sinema

Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate intern Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they’d reached a deal on legislation that would address climate change, taxes, health care, and inflation. They even publicly pantsed Mitch McConnell in the process. There was much rejoicing until we remembered Democrats have only 50 votes and one of them is unfiltered chaos magic Kyrsten Sinema.


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The Washington Post generously describes Sinema as a "fiscal hawk and political moderate.” That more aptly applies to Democrats such as Montana’s Jon Tester and Arizona’s Mark Kelly, who are already on board or at least not making this all about them. Sinema is a raving egomaniac whose policy preferences miraculously align with her GOP donors’ bottom lines.

Sinema’s aides claim she’s reviewing the legislation, as if this is some extra level of scrutiny she’s applying. According to Manchin, who’s annoying but at least predictable in his way, she’s been privately “exchanging texts back and forth.” Democrats better double check that McConnell’s not on that group text. He’s declared that Republicans are "going to be really aggressively in opposition” to what Democrats want, as if this is brand new information.

This passage from the Post article is so hilarious you’ll want to throw your coffee mug at the wall:

In the meantime, party lawmakers have faced intensifying criticism from Republicans, who long have opposed their plans to combat climate change, reduce health-care costs and revise the U.S. tax code. On Tuesday, top GOP lawmakers continued to paint the Democratic package as a tax increase on Americans, citing an analysis that only looked at some of the elements in the broader spending bill.

C’mon, guys, Republicans and their rightwing media propaganda machine are obviously, deliberately lying. There’s no “oopsie” here. They want to generate backlash against the bill by claiming that it‘ll raise taxes on struggling Americans. That’s not the least bit true, but conveniently, they have no conscience. However, a competent media shouldn’t take what Republicans say or do at face value. These are people who blocked a veterans bill out of spite ... and then lied about it.

Sinema chatted for a while on the Senate floor Tuesday with McConnell and Tom Cotton, but they could’ve just been discussing the new fashion trends.

Republicans believe Sinema is their last, great hope at killing the bill. Politico reported that Sinema’s “frustrated” that she wasn’t “looped in” earlier and was “totally shocked” that Democrats might actually achieve something positive despite her best efforts. John Barrasso boasted Sunday that Sinema "has a spine of steel. She’s not going to easily be twisted,” which means he probably thinks that Republicans can easily twist her to oppose the deal. He also noted that Democrats, who don’t have a vote to spare, "haven’t had 50 senators show up for work in well over a month.” Several Senate Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, and Barrasso seems eager to exploit their health issues so Republicans can block a health care bill. These guys are monsters, and Sinema is way too friendly with them.

It’s unclear how much steel resides in Sinema’s spine. She’s usually acted in accord with Manchin. She’s never actively defied him, and it was Manchin alone who declared Build Back Better dead last December. Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva from Arizona said “her state is going to need her on this” and she “politically doesn’t have a choice.” Sinema hasn’t demonstrated much interest in her non-lobbyist constituents, but even she must realize she can’t alienate everyone who voted for her in 2018.

Unfortunately, all we can do now is cross our fingers.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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