by Greg Valliere, AGF Management Ltd.
Joe Manchin Moves the Goal Posts;
Explosive New Immigration Issue for GOP
November 2, 2021
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO OVERSTATE THE ANGER among Democrats this morning that’s directed at maverick Sen. Joe Manchin, who wants to delay passage of the social spending bill because, he contends, it’s moving too quickly, without enough vetting.
WE TALKED WITH SOME DEMOCRATIC STAFFERS LATE YESTERDAY, and their reaction was predictably furious. One said: “You’ve got to be kidding — we haven’t spent enough time on this bill?” Others fumed that concession after concession on the price tag and Manchin’s desire to exempt West Virginia from environmental reforms has led to nothing but more demands.
WAIT UNTIL THE PRESIDENT COMES BACK from Scotland, most Democrats said, and there will be a final deal on issues like prescription drug prices, with a House vote by this weekend, passing the basic infrastructure bill along with the social spending measure. The Progressives have capitulated; they’ll take virtually anything.
IT’S LIKE THREADING A NEEDLE, but the odds still favor passage of the basic infrastructure package, costing about $1.2 trillion, and the $1.75 trillion social spending package. House progressives are on board, which leaves Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as the potential obstacles in the Senate. They will get full-time attention from Biden.
THE NEED TO MOVE QUICKLY may get added impetus in the next 24 hours if Democrat Terry McAuliffe loses his election bid in Virginia, which appears likely. Even if he wins by a whisker, the message to Democrats is withering on education, crime, immigration, inflation, etc.
FOR BIDEN, WHO HAS EXCEEDED LOW EXPECTATIONS in Europe, his legacy hangs in the balance in the next week or two. We think he will grant every wish from Manchin and Sinema and a deal will pass before the U.S. Thanksgiving — but it’s a very close call because the two mavericks will demand more and more.
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NEW ISSUE FOR GOP: Republicans are optimistic about Virginia — and their prospects in next year’s elections — and now they have a new issue: a potential payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal immigrants who are suing the government because they were separated from their families during the Trump Administration crackdown at the Texas border.
THE PROPOSED PAYMENTS COULD RISE TO $1 MILLION per family, and as you can imagine, this has lit up conservative talk radio. Huge payments to illegal immigrants who broke the law will simply encourage more illegal immigration, Republicans say.
THE WHITE HOUSE POSITION is that lawsuits from skilled attorneys, claiming emotional harm to children separated from their families, could be even more expensive than settlements.
THE DETAILS DON’T MATTER: This is an explosive issue, sure to inflame voters who are struggling with high inflation. Never mind that there’s an acute shortage of labor, which immigrants could alleviate — the idea of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal immigrants could be a huge issue heading into the 2022 elections. Biden almost certainly will attempt to kill or greatly reduce potential payments.
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This post was first published at the AGF Perspectives Blog.