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The Editors

The Case for Manchin’s Intransigence

By subjecting Biden’s plans to greater scrutiny, he’s doing the country a service.

Not universally admired.

Not universally admired.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 

On Friday, Democrats in the House of Representatives finally voted to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate approved back in August. This gives President Joe Biden an important legislative achievement, something he badly needed. The measure is far from perfect, but it includes some necessary and valuable investments, and won support from both sides in Congress. It’s to be welcomed.

However, wrangling over Biden’s bigger and more contentious Build Back Better plan is far from over. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema have spent weeks objecting to aspects of this omnibus tax-and-spending plan and spurning numerous changes designed to appease them. Last week Manchin escalated his quarrel with his party yet again, saying he wasn’t ready to support any plan before it has been thoroughly costed and assessed for its effects on the economy, and he’s given no sign that Friday’s votes in the House will change his mind.