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The Black American Dossier On Powerful Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin

The Black American Dossier On Powerful Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin

Manchin

The Black American Dossier On Powerful Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Photo: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks to reporters as he arrives to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 5, 2021. Manchin is key holdout vote on President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion domestic agenda. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When the Democrats were trying to push through a more extensive infrastructure bill, they came up with a roadblock from one of their own — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Manchin is often at odds with policies and programs that will benefit Black Americans.

A former businessman, Manchin is serving as the senior senator from West Virginia, a seat he has held since 2010. Before that, he was the 34th governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010 and the 27th secretary of state of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005.

The dossier on Manchin shows evidence of his lack of support for Black America.

Manchin has strongly resisted the idea of changes to the filibuster. Voters in his home state pushed back in mid-June with the “March on Manchin” to voice their displeasure with his lack of support for filibuster reform,  the Washington Post reported. In the Senate, a filibuster is a ploy used by opponents of a proposed law to prevent the measure’s final passage.

For 100 years, “the filibuster has been used to deny Black rights.” It was done by blocking legislation that would push the rights of Black citizens through into law.

Manchin was also one of the first to oppose a minimum wage increase as part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better stimulus bill, The Guardian reported. He has also been lackluster in support of voting rights.

Manchin’s relationship with Black voters in West Virginia has been strained. Black voters in the state “feel dismissed and written off” by him, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

In 2016, Manchin complained to the Register-Herald that he felt West Virginia was being dismissed and left behind by President Barack Obama. “You have to be president of all 50 states,” Manchin told reporters. “You can’t leave any of us behind.” He said West Virginians have faced challenging times in the previous few years, especially with what he described as “unobtainable” and “unreasonable” clean air standards handed down by the president.

Manchin isn’t on the good side of many Black politicians either. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., accused him of being “anti-Black,” Fox News reported. Bush made the remark in response to Manchin’s well-documented opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Bush said Manchin’s opposition was “anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant. When we talk about transformative change, we are talking about a bill that will benefit Black, brown, Indigenous communities,” Bush said.

Manchin replied to the Bush accusations, “She doesn’t know me.”

Big business does like Manchin, according to Sludge.

“Joe Manchin has long labored on behalf of big business in public office. As a state senator in 1994, he became the West Virginia chair and a national director of ALEC, the corporate bill mill,” Sludge tweeted.

ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives whose members draft and share model legislation for distribution among state governments. When he was a state senator in 1994, Manchin was ALEC’s West Virginia state chairman and national director, Brick House reported.

Manchin has been accused of being a right-wing Republican masquerading as a Democrat.

“Manchin is a Republican-and a very RW one at that. ALEC is a curse on states,” Anne Bonny @JulsOtter tweeted.

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Between 2011 — the year of his first Senate disclosure filing — and 2020, Manchin has made $5.2 million from his coal company, Enersystems, according to annual financial disclosures. On top of this, he receives big donations from the fossil-fuel industry, Salon reported.

A point of contention between Manchin and progressive Democrats is Manchin’s resistance of Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent to fund infrastructure investments. Manchin’s “intransigence could protect numerous private equity donors who bankrolled his 2018 reelection campaign,” Jacobin reported.

Manchin’s stance on tax reform could protect generous tax benefits enjoyed by many of his biggest campaign benefactors in the legal industry. Since 2015, Manchin got nearly 800 contributions averaging slightly less than $1,000 from lawyers in 31 states, according to data available through the Federal Elections Commission.

Lawyers and law firms are the second-largest source of donations to Manchin’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, following securities and investment businesses, according to OpenSecrets.