On the United Mine Workers, Manchin and ‘Build Back Better’

I was interested to read in The Hill this morning that the United Mine Workers (UMW) are calling on West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the lone Democrat opposing Biden’s bill, to reconsider. They say a number of provisions in the legislation that will benefit coal miners.

So it’s odd, you might think, that a Democratic Senator in a key coal state — a Senator who has boasted that helping miners “has been one of the greatest honors of my life” — would oppose legislation that miners say they need.

Not so odd, actually. Democrats have raised cynical claims of support for workers to an art form. An article in today’s Plain Dealer pointed out that provisions in Build Back Better “would be a massive blow to [Manchin’s] family coal business — which paid him nearly $500,000 last year.” This probably weighs more heavily in his mind than the needs of coal miners.

Manchin has raised reactionary arguments to justify his opposition to Build Back Better. According to NBC this morning, Manchin thinks money from the Child Tax Credit will be used to buy drugs. Manchin says he opposes Paid Family Leave because the money could be used to go on hunting trips. Disgusting.

The Today Show

For the record, I believe that Build Back Better would benefit workers — that’s you and me — and should be passed. But it’s only a band-aid on a gaping gash. Workers need bigger solutions. We need to be rid of the system that enables people like Manchin in the first, and indeed the two parties themselves. To start, we need a Labor Party based on the unions with allegiance only to working people.

All comments are welcome. I only ask that we remain civil and respectful of one another. If you clicked over from Facebook, please comment here rather than back there.

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