Climate change won’t wait for GOP to agree
It’s not often a West Virginian has the power to make a profound impact on the world, but Sen. Manchin is in that position now. With two huge bills coming up (infrastructure and the social/environmental bills), we have a unique, maybe final opportunity to do something about climate change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Species extinction, more widespread disease, unlivable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30.” We are seeing this today. Look at the heat dome over the West Coast or the never-before-seen flooding in Germany, among many other places.
Sen. Manchin must stop seeking McConnell’s approval and focus on legislation that serves West Virginians. This would be paid for by restoring the corporate tax rate to the pre-2017 level of 28%. Catching corporate tax dodgers would also help pay for these vital investments. Responding to climate change (extreme weather, if you prefer) must happen now.
Our future depends on passing legislation that protects our democracy, ends the climate crisis and revitalizes our economy. Waiting on Republican politicians is no longer an option — Mitch McConnell has already made clear that he is not seeking bipartisanship. However, here in West Virginia, there are already conversations happening in a bipartisan way, particularly when it comes to more federal investment in all kinds of infrastructure. Sen. Manchin must vote with the people and let West Virginia be the state that makes the difference for a better world.
Bipartisanship should be a two-way street
Early last week, 56 state representatives and nine state senators fled Texas, most of them for Washington D.C. In a bipartisan balance, one U.S. senator, our own Joe Manchin, left D.C. for Texas.
The Texas delegation fled to deny their state Republicans the opportunity to ram through a fundamental attack on minority voting, disguised as a bill. The majority Republicans made no pretense of seeking a bipartisan compromise. Accordingly, the refugee delegates came to Washington, to plead for the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that would disallow such a trampling of civil rights. The original measure was modified to be more bipartisan, at the urging of Sen. Manchin. But the Republicans agreed to the modification, then filibustered. So nothing happened. Sen. Manchin held a private meeting with the refugees, but apparently ways to get around the filibuster were not discussed.
Our senator then flew off to Texas. He did not go to argue with the Texas Republicans for bipartisanship. Rather, he went to pick up bipartisan political funds, choosing to disregard recent accidental admissions from lobbyists that he was one of their most reliable puppets.
Sen. Manchin’s quest for bipartisanship is admirable, but it has not had any success. I recall when he promised he could deliver Republican votes in a bipartisan bill for gun control. He failed. How many children have died as a result?
The Republicans are happy to play political rope-a-dope with him, now as then, to run out the clock on this session, in the hopes of having Senate control in 2022. Will they philosophize about removing the filibuster when it suits them? How long did it take them to unilaterally change the filibuster rules for approving Supreme Court nominations?
“Coulda, woulda, shoulda” is the saddest phrase. Sen. Manchin mustn’t let that apply to him; fix the filibuster.