Joe Manchin May Leave Democrat Party, Could Throw Control of Senate to Republicans

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 20, 2021   |   1:52PM   |   Washington, DC

In a decision that could have a massive political ripple effect, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is reportedly considering leaving the Democrat party and becoming an independent. Depending on which party Manchin caucuses with, the decision has the potential to take the Senate away from democrats and put it back under Republican control.

The liberal magazine Mother Jones has more:

In recent days, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) has told associates that he is considering leaving the Democratic Party if President Joe Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill do not agree to his demand to cut the size of the social infrastructure bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, according to people who have heard Manchin discuss this. Manchin has said that if this were to happen, he would declare himself an “American Independent.” And he has devised a detailed exit strategy for his departure.

Manchin has been in the center of a wild rush of negotiations with his fellow Democrats and the White House over a possible compromise regarding Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better package, and Manchin’s opposition to key provisions—including Medicare and Medicaid expansion, an expanded child tax credit, and measures to address climate change—has been an obstacle that the Democrats have yet to overcome. As these talks have proceeded, Manchin has discussed bolting from the Democratic Party—perhaps to place pressure on Biden and Democrats in these negotiations.

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He told associates that he has a two-step plan for exiting the party. First, he would send a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, removing himself from the Democratic leadership of the Senate. (He is vice chairman of the Senate Democrats’ policy and communications committee.) Manchin hopes that would send a signal. He would then wait and see if that move had any impact on the negotiations. After about a week, he said, he would change his voter registration from Democrat to independent.

UPDATE: According to a CNN reporter, Manchin has shot down the report and said he is not considering leaving.

Liberal spending is not the only topic on which Manchin is divided from the rest of the Democrats, he’s also nominally pro-life in a party dominated by abortion activists and is opposed to taxpayer funding of abortions.

The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package is a huge gift for Big Abortion and Manchin has said he will not vote for it if the Hyde Amendment is not restored. Manchin has said he will not vote for any Democrat reconciliation bill without the Hyde Amendment to protect Americans from having to fund abortions.

As National Review reports, Manchin is a no go for launch on an abortion-funding bill, saying reconciliation is “dead on arrival” in the Senate if it doesn’t include Hyde:

National Review: Senator, you’ve been very firm on keeping the Hyde amendment on the appropriations bills. Are you concerned about that issue at all in reconciliation—

Manchin: Certainly—

NR: —with this new Medicaid program?

Manchin: Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on.

National Review: In the new Medicaid program?

Manchin: It has to be. It has to be. That’s dead on arrival if that’s gone.

The good news is that Manchin an pro-life Republicans can kill Democrat efforts to fund abortions as long as they stick together in the Senate and filibuster the measure. But the reconcilation bill only needs 50 votes — making it so Manchin’s support is sorely needed to stop abortion funding in that legislation.

From National Review:

The traditional Medicaid program is funded by appropriations bills that are subject to a 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, so efforts by House Democrats to kill off the Hyde amendment entirely this year are doomed.

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But in their reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple majority to pass the Senate, House Democrats propose creating a new Medicaid-like program administered entirely by the federal government for low-income residents in the twelve states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The new Medicaid-like program lacks the Hyde amendment and would therefore fund abortions for beneficiaries.

Responding to Manchin’s comments, the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List told LifeNews, “We thank Senator Manchin for committing to stop taxpayer funding of abortion in the reconciliation bill.”

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “There has long been consensus among the American people – regardless of party – that taxpayers should never be forced to pay for abortions. We praise Senator Manchin for standing up for this consensus and for the pro-life values of his West Virginia constituents.”

Earlier this month, SBA List launched a six-figure campaign thanking Senator Manchin for his previously stated opposition to taxpayer funding for abortion on demand. The ongoing campaign includes digital adsradio, constituent phone calls, and billboards in West Virginia.

Under budget reconciliation, it is possible to fund programs that bypass the Hyde family of amendments, which stop taxpayer funding of abortion on demand. Reconciliation bills require just a simple majority for passage in both the House and Senate. Anti-life provisions in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill include:

  • Creation of a new abortion coverage mandate for 2024 ACA plans that cover individuals or families under 138% of the federal poverty level, but are not eligible for Medicaid.
  • Creation of a new program directed toward the 12 states that have not opted to expand Medicaid and that do not use state funds to pay for abortion. Unlike Medicaid, the program is structured so that it is not subject to the Hyde Amendment.
  • Additional public health funding streams that are not covered by the Hyde Amendment.

Earlier this year, Pelosi passed a federal budget that forces Americans to fund abortions.

The Hyde Amendment has saved an estimated 2.4 million babies from abortion.

Polls consistently show that most Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. A recent Marist poll found that 77 percent of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to promote abortion overseas, and 58 percent oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortions in the United States.

2016 Harvard/Politico poll found strong support for the Hyde Amendment as well. It also found that voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor). In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are more likely to oppose it.