Editorials, Opinion

Manchin should come home and explain his vote

On Monday, West Virginia State Sen. Randy Smith called on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to come before the Legislature and justify his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Manchin has famously said that if he can’t go home and explain it to West Virginia voters, then he won’t vote for it.

Smith, as a West Virginia voter, is well within his rights to ask Manchin to come home and explain the IRA to him and Manchin’s other constituents.

Manchin should take Smith up on his invitation.

There’s a lot of confusion about what is and isn’t covered in the law, signed this week by President Joe Biden. News outlets, including this one, have done their best to summarize and explain the 700-plus-page bill for readers and viewers, some more successfully (and with less partisan spin) than others.

Manchin has already gone toe-to-toe with Fox News over the IRA, pushing back against Fox host Harris Faulkner as she repeatedly parroted false statistics and talking points provided by the law’s opponents.

At one point, Faulkner played a clip of Fox reporter Peter Doocy questioning White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about a Joint Committee on Taxation Report that says the IRA will raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 a year. Jean-Pierre responded to the accusation by saying that report wasn’t correct because it was not complete.

Harris came back on and demanded to know the bottom line on taxation, and Manchin cut in: “You want to know the bottom line? … That opinion was only written by my friends on the Republican side. It was not done by the whole Joint Committee … so let’s be accurate in what we’re doing here.”

When Faulkner claimed she’d read that individuals making less than $400,000 were going to see tax increases, Manchin stopped her short — “That’s a lie. That’s a pure, outright lie.”

Faulkner pushed back: “Are you saying Mitch McConnell and others in the Senate are wrong about those numbers …?” Manchin was confident and adamant in his response. “Totally wrong,” he said. “Totally, absolutely wrong.”

Well said, Sen. Manchin. Well said.

It should be noted that not a single Republican in either the House or Senate voted in favor of the IRA, despite the fact many recent polls and surveys have found its individual components are popular among the majority of Americans.

If Manchin can go on Fox News, then he should have no problem standing in front of the Legislature and justifying his “yea” vote. It would also give him the opportunity to set the record straight on a variety of half-truths and outright falsehoods regarding the IRA.

Although the Legislature is out of session, the U.S. Senate is currently in its August recess, so this would be the perfect opportunity for Manchin to visit not only Charleston, but all the different regions of the state so he can talk about the finer points of the IRA and field constituent questions and concerns. Manchin can speak to lawmakers when the Legislature reconvenes for its next special session. 

Manchin gave the IRA his vote. Now it’s time for him to come home.