Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) had no kind words Sunday for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s surprise decision to back a reconciliation bill meant to jump-start the Democrats’ national agenda.
“It really looks to me like Joe Manchin was taken to the cleaners,” Toomey told CNN’s Jake Tapper on state of the union, attack the bill’s provisions on corporate taxes, health care subsidies and climate change funds.
“And what does Joe get for that?” He gets a promise that someday in the future they will pass some kind of energy infrastructure legislation,” he said. “So it’s a disaster. This will deepen our recession. It will make inflation worse. It won’t help. I’m really surprised that Joe agreed to that.
Toomey’s criticisms mirrored those of several of his fellow Republicans after Manchin revealed his surprise support for the Cut Inflation Act last week, a $700 billion bill that partially funds some of the President Joe Biden’s top national climate and corporate tax rate priorities. Some in the GOP, who worked with Democrats on a semiconductor bill without knowing it was coming, likened it to betrayal.
“How can we negotiate in good faith, compromise if necessary, and get things done after the Majority Leader and the West Virginia senator make a stunt like this?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) fumed on the Senate floor Thursday. “Looking you in the eye and saying one thing and doing another is absolutely unforgivable.”
Toomey also defended his party’s response to the bill, saying its climate provisions in particular do little to address climate change, despite some of the more moderate Democrats, such as adjacent rural Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) – publicly. support the bill.
“What’s having a few richer people buying Teslas do? It won’t do anything,” Toomey said. “What we need is a strong economy and the ability to find the innovation and technology that will allow us on a large commercial scale to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But these gestures, they may do good, but they are not an accomplishment.
Elsewhere in the interview, Toomey berated Democrats and comedian Jon Stewart— for their intense push for a veterans relief bill, which Republicans blocked after initially backing it.
“It’s the oldest thing in Washington,” Toomey said. “People take a sympathetic group of Americans – and they can be sick children, victims of crime, veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals – come up with a bill to solve their issues and then sneak in something completely unrelated that they know they could never convey on their own and dare the Republicans to do anything about it because they know they’ll let their allies down in the media and maybe a pseudo-celebrity to invent false accusations to try to suck us into who shouldn’t be there.”
The element Toomey was referring to was how the funds would be allocated, especially as the funds would be placed under a “compulsory spending” provision. This provision was intact when the bill was originally approved by the Senate 84-14.