I don't think Joe Manchin is stupid. I think he's often craven, and uses his demands as a cover for the fact that he's a hardcore Koch conservative (don't forget, he's a co-founder of the No Labels caucus), and that requires him to come up with rationales, no matter how little sense they make.
Last week, he stamped his feet and demanded Biden cut his key climate change plans, and now he demands that Dems put a $60K income cap on the child tax credit instead of $150K, and add a work requirement. In other words, instead of the widely applied tax credit Biden wants, it becomes just another program for the poor. And the work requirement seems like the credit would be canceled out by day care costs.
And he claims to be worried about cultivating an "entitlement mentality." Like when he handed his coal business to his son to run? (Am I bitter? Hell, yeah.)
While Manchin has previously indicated he wanted progressive to pick one of Biden's three programs to help working families, he now seems more favorably disposed to policies that target families with young children in need.
In addition to the pared-back CTC, Manchin is open to Biden's $450 billion plan to subsidize day care and offer free universal preschool, the people familiar with the matter told Axios.
Manchin, however, wants to impose stricter income caps on the day care subsidies while keeping preschool free for everyone, as it already is in West Virginia.
The senator is less interested in the $225 billion to $450 billion paid family leave proposal or $400 billion for a new program to provide care for elderly and disabled people, according to people familiar with the matter.
People familiar with the matter also said Manchin also wants to block anyone who is retired who may be a grandparent with custody of children or foster or adoptive parents, saying that they must be employed to get the money. There have been many children who've lost parents due to the opioid epidemic or COVID-19, and their families could use whatever funding possible to help.
A study by Pediatrics cited at least 140,000 children under the age of 18 who have been orphaned due to COVID-19 between April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. According to the United Hospital Fund, 1.435 million children are missing at least one of their parents due to a drug addiction and 240,000 children have had a parent who died due to an opioid overdose. At the same time, authorities have removed 325,000 children from their homes and placed them in foster care or with relatives due to opioids.
And his opposition to Biden's climate change bill sends my blood pressure going through the roof. Via the New York Times:
Senator Joe Manchin III, the Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia whose vote is crucial to passage of the bill, has told the White House that he strongly opposes the clean electricity program, according to three of those people. As a result, White House staffers are now rewriting the legislation without that climate provision, and are trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions.
A White House spokesman, Vedant Patel, declined to comment on the specifics of the bill, saying, “the White House is laser focused on advancing the president’s climate goals and positioning the United States to meet its emission targets in a way that grows domestic industries and good jobs.”
A spokeswoman for Mr. Manchin, Sam Runyon, wrote in an email, “Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing. He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability.”