Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 22, 2021
One senator just blew up Joe Biden’s presidential plans
A single U.S. senator has detonated a political bombshell whose wide-ranging blast radius has touched his political party, his country and his planet.
Let us sift through political wreckage over the horizon and count the effects unleashed by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
He has, until further notice, killed President Joe Biden’s hope of signing major legislation. Resurrecting the Build Back Better mega-bill could happen but it won’t be easy and it’s dead in its current form.
Because he holds the 50th vote in a 100-seat Senate, Manchin’s statement was a game-changer on multiple fronts.
It’s rocked Biden’s presidency, enraged the Democratic Party, imperilled about two dozen major initiatives affecting millions of Americans, undone economic forecasts, torched the U.S. climate plan, tossed into doubt a global tax plan, and, perhaps to Canadians’ benefit, paused a major Canada-U.S. irritant, a potential violation of trade agreements.
His move unleashed recriminations within the Democratic Party as some of Manchin’s colleagues castigated him; questioned his integrity; said he couldn’t be trusted; and some even raised money in fundraising letters trashing his decision.
That acrimonious climate is hardly propitious to getting Democrats back to the negotiating table to try saving bits of the 2,468-page Build Back Better bill.
There’s a silver lining in all this for Canada.
The Canadian government was deeply worried about the green rebates and preparing for an economic war over them.
That’s because Build Back Better offered tax credits for the purchase of U.S.-assembled electric cars, which Canada and others called a violation of trade agreements that would kill jobs abroad.
It’s no accident a Canadian auto-parts representative happened to be meeting with Manchin’s staff on Friday, lobbying against the measure.
Flavio Volpe said it’s too soon to assume this irritant is gone. Ottawa appears to agree. Nobody in the Canadian government has been willing to comment on Sunday’s developments, suggesting they’re not final.
“I don’t feel like we’re out of the woods yet,” Volpe said. “We’re [still] on DEFCON 1 for Canadian prosperity.” (CBC)