Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay: Manchin is setting a new standard of conduct for those on Capitol Hill

by Rebecca McPhail and Charlie Burd

 We hope the entire nation is paying attention to West Virginia right now, because our senior senator, Joe Manchin, is conducting a clinic about how an elected official should operate.

In a true representative republic, consensus and compromise are not bad words, and sometimes the little guy — or in this case the guy from the little state — can have a huge impact.

Washington progressives are trying to spend this nation into a cycle of debt and dependency that will doom us for generations. Joe Manchin sees it, and he is trying everything in his power to stop it while still treating his colleagues with respect. You don’t get inflammatory rhetoric from Sen. Manchin, just his sincere desire to stand in the face of excess and get this nation back to basics.

At the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia, we support his approach and have a few basics we would like to see from Congress:

Government should be able to pay for the programs it spends taxpayer money on without picking winners and losers in the economy based on popular political whims.

Congress needs to abandon the reconciliation process altogether and return to normal business where new spending plans are put through the committee process, evaluated and debated on their own merits. For those of us in the manufacturing industry in particular, new or expanded government programs should not be advanced on the backs of those who have made our modern lifestyles possible.

Adding any new taxes or restrictions on manufacturing and energy industries will hurt the progress and innovations achieved in West Virginia and other parts of the United States. Instead, we should be looking at ways to re-shore manufacturing to the U.S., considering supply chain challenges and the disruptions we all have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s support the creators of this nation instead of taxing them to pay for government expansion.

As Sen. Manchin said Nov. 1, this nation does not need more “budget gimmicks.”

To House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others: You would be wise to take Joe Manchin seriously and alter your tactics. We have known him a long time and know his commitment to bipartisanship and consensus-building is the hallmark of his storied career in public service. Manchin is not going to abandon his principles now just because the whole nation is watching (and judging) in person, on air and online.

To many, Joe Manchin is saving America and building a bridge to a more moderate, measured, mature approach to governing. The pendulum in Washington has been swinging far too widely these last several years, and Joe Manchin is providing a much-needed steadying hand.

Rebecca McPhail is president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association. Charlie Burd is executive director of the Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia.