Ponnuru: The Democrats should blame themselves, not Joe Manchin | Opinion

Ramesh Ponnuru
Bloomberg Opinion

The Democrats should have listened to Joe Manchin. As their “Build Back Better” agenda assumed legislative shape, the Democratic senator from West Virginia kept telling them what he didn’t like about it.

On Nov. 1, he decried the bill’s “shell games” and “budget gimmicks,” and called it “a recipe for economic crisis.” He wanted to set up and fully pay for a few programs for 10 years. The bill House Democrats passed sets up more programs, but for only a few years; after that, the Democrats were counting on political pressure to get them extended, and maybe funded. They appeared to think Manchin’s conditions were just a negotiating position — even after he said that he would be comfortable if no bill at all got passed.

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