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In Senate, Manchin Says McConnell Is “Protecting Wall Street,” Not Workers

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday for being more concerned with propping up financiers than providing supplies to hospitals fighting the novel coronavirus.

“You can throw all the money at Wall Street you want to,” Manchin said after McConnell blamed Democrats for a stalled stimulus bill. “People are afraid to leave their homes. They’re afraid of the health care. I’ve got workers who don’t have masks. I’ve got health care workers who don’t have gowns.”

“And it looks like we’re worried more about the economy than we are the health care and the wellbeing of the people of America,” the West Virginia senator complained.

McConnell interrupted: “The American people are waiting for us to act today! We don’t have time for this! We don’t have time for it!”

“Let me ask you a question,” Manchin implored.

“Answer my question!” McConnell demanded. “In what way would the Democratic Party be disadvantaged?”

“Thirty hours [of debate] or 30 days, as long as you have the votes, 51 votes rule,” Manchin said. “So the final vote is going to be on passage, whether you have to negotiate or not with us.”

“Here’s the way it works!” McConnell exclaimed. “We have been fiddling around as the senator from Maine pointed out for 24 hours…”

At that point, Manchin reclaimed his time, silencing McConnell.

“We just have a little different opinion about this,” Manchin said. “You can’t throw enough money to fix this if you can’t fix the health care.”

“My health care workers need to be protected,” he added. “But it seems like we’re talking about everything else about the economy versus the health care. That doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.”

“It seems like we’re more concerned about the health care of Wall Street,” Manchin remarked. “That’s the problem that I’ve had on this.”

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In Rare Public Rebuke, FBI Humiliates Nunes For ‘Memo’ Smear Campaign

After meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and White House chief of staff John Kelly and beseeching them not to publicly release a dubious, GOP-concocted hit report on the FBI, the bureau went public with its “grave concerns” on Wednesday.

Clearly hitting the Republican’s ongoing smear campaign led by House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes — which is playing out against the backdrop of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia and obstruction of justice investigation — the FBI statement said: “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Then again, it’s extremely rare for a major political party in this country to wage a months-long campaign to destroy the FBI in hopes of protecting their president who remains the center of a special counsel investigation.

On Wednesday, moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia lashed out on the pending GOP mini-report, which emerged from the House Intelligence Committee, calling it a “scam” and “asinine.”

The extraordinary development, and the fact that the FBI feels it needs to now go public regarding its battle with House Republicans and the White House, comes one week after Trump’s own Department of Justice sent out a warning signal about the GOP’s smear campaign.

It “would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum,” the Justice statement stressed.

Democrats, members of the intelligence community, and officials at the Justice Department and FBI have stressed that the smear memo, which is basically just partisan oppo research, does not provide an accurate description of how the FBI has functioned with regard to the Russia investigation.

And that’s precisely why GOP House members have refused to corroborate their report. Specifically, they refuse to share with anyone what the sources are for the cherry-picked memo. House Republicans won’t even share that information with Republicans in the Senate.

But the White House needs to create a massive diversion from the Russia and obstruction of justice probes, so they’re poised to join forces with House Republicans and publicly release the shoddy, reckless report.

And they’ll do it over the FBI’s “grave concerns.”


U.S. Democratic Senator Manchin Opposes Nuclear Deal With Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Tuesday he would vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, even though U.S. President Barack Obama already has enough Senate support to protect the agreement.

“I believe that to be a super power, you must possess super diplomatic skills, and I believe that we can use these skills to negotiate a better deal,” Manchin said in a statement.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) (R) talks to reporters outside of a closed-door Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the Bergdahl prisoner swap at the U.S. Capitolin Washington June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Senate Odd Couple Seek Common Ground On Climate Change

By Niels Lesniewski, CQ Roll Call

POINT JUDITH, R.I. — A visit to the Ocean State’s eroding shoreline didn’t prompt West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III to change his mind about EPA regulation of carbon emissions, but his host wasn’t expecting that sort of evolution.

“I didn’t invite Sen. Manchin here thinking that he was suddenly going to have an epiphany and turn into a ‘greenie’ and come to the next climate march with me,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters after the two Democrats took a daylong tour of coastal Rhode Island on Oct. 10.

“What I do think though is that he is a smart and reasonable voice from the prototype coal state who has very, very good relations with a lot of our most conservative members of the Senate, some of whom believe that the whole climate change problem is a conspiracy designed as a foil to allow people to expand the role of government and take away freedom,” the Rhode Islander continued.

You would be hard-pressed to find two Democratic senators who more clearly demonstrate the party’s divide on energy and environmental issues, so it was notable when they announced plans to visit each others’ states to discuss energy and climate policy.

Manchin followed through on the first half of the bargain last week, joining with Whitehouse in meeting with oceanography experts, fishermen, environmental officials and residents and business owners at risk of seeing their properties washed away by rising tides.

Asked about the clear disagreement with Whitehouse on the use of executive action by the Environmental Protection Agency in regulating coal emissions, Manchin pointed to one of the reasons why he’s willing to work toward a legislative solution with someone like his Rhode Island counterpart.

“I’m relying on Sheldon to bring the EPA to a commonsense position, to work with us and not against us, and if you have people that are so respected in the environmental community such as Sheldon say, ‘Listen gang, we’ve got to start working together and quit fighting each other,'” Manchin said. “Maybe he can help me and I rely on that, and I know they listen to Sheldon. That he can say the EPA should be working, coming to West Virginia, looking for solutions and not keep beating our heads with a ball bat every time they come.”

“We need good people like Sheldon that understand, and maybe brings a federal agency like the EPA in line,” Manchin said.

A trip aboard a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management trawler named for former Republican Gov. and Sen. John Chafee, highlighted the activities here.

After leaving from Point Judith, commercial and sport-based fishermen told the senators how the fish population has evolved and how federal regulations have not kept up. The senators participated in the sorting and counting of fish, part of the department’s efforts to better understand the population.

“We need to invest some time and money into really understanding the long-term effects of these climate shifts,” said Rick Bellavance, a recreational charter operator. “I definitely think that there are differences. When I first started coming here to Point Judith 25 years ago, maybe once or twice a year my dock would be underwater because the tides were too high. Now, it seems like every month, two or three days my dock is underwater.”

At Roy Carpenter’s Beach, a collection of summer cottages along the waterfront in nearby Matunuck, Whitehouse and Manchin met with residents, including Kevin McCloskey. His cottage, which has enjoyed a front-row view of the ocean, needs to be moved to the rear of the lot by the time the property opens for the 2015 season in hopes of avoiding rising tides.

“This is my heaven. I’m giving this up to go in the back row because the community’s worth it down here,” McCloskey said. He noted some of his neighbors have already lost homes.

“I don’t want … my house falling in the ocean, because when I go diving down there, I see remnants of refrigerators and stuff in the ocean, and that bothers me,” he said.

The day ended at two oceanfront bars where the owners outlined threats to their businesses. In between the watering holes, the senators paused for an interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz. The liberal talk host’s show dispatched a satellite truck for a shot with an ocean backdrop most often seen on cable news during hurricanes. Perhaps that was appropriate given that Superstorm Sandy less than two years earlier had washed into the Atlantic three of the summer cottages at the working-class beach community the senators had just visited.

Manchin told reporters he hoped more of his colleagues would make similar trips in an effort to bridge divides.

“If you don’t build that relationship, you don’t have any type of a colleague type of relationship and then build a friendship off that … you’re not going to find the middle,” Manchin said. “I’m not seeing a perfect piece of legislation. I’m not seeing a perfect solution. I’ve found that if we talk and work through it, we might try to move forward and make our country a better country.”

Whitehouse has given nearly 80 weekly Senate floor speeches on energy and climate issues, and Manchin joined him June 25 for an exchange about finding common ground. The two senators reiterated much of the same message last week.

“We did a colloquy. We keep talking, our staffs are talking all the time,” Manchin said. “We’re sincerely looking to find — I said Sheldon help me get the money freed up from the Department of Energy so we can find the technology that you want so that we can take the CO2 completely out of the system whether it be existing or … new plants, new coal-fired plants, and we can reduce what we have right now.”

There’s no sign of a broad agreement on how to balance environmental and economic consequences, but the two Democrats at least listened to each other as they took in Rhode Island’s idyllic coastline.

The listening could always lead to progress, given the senators are surely to see a similar dire situation, though for entirely different reasons, when Whitehouse comes to Manchin’s coal country in the coming weeks.

Photo: Third Way via Flickr