Joe Manchin frowns while walking with reporters in the Capitol

Joe Manchin Says Poor People Would Just Spend Tax Credit on Drugs, Revealing How He Really Feels About Constituents

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Days after betraying Democrats, his constituents, and the rest of the country by singlehandedly blocking Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is making it clear he’s not done being the absolute worst.

Last week, it came out that Manchin was refusing to support the continuation of the monthly child tax credit that has offered families as much as $300 per child under the Biden administration. Manchin then appeared on Fox News to confirm that he would not be supporting the massive social spending package—an apparent kneejerk reaction to having his feelings hurt by the White House’s negotiation tactics.

Manchin has long opposed the child tax credit, and according to HuffPost, he’s opened up privately to his colleagues about the reason why: He thinks low-income people can’t be trusted to spend that money on their children, and will instead spend it on drugs.

Manchin also reportedly said that people couldn’t be trusted with paid sick leave because they would just pretend to be sick to go on “hunting trips.”

This sort of thinking is so offensively condescending and it’s also really harmful. This sort of boilerplate “war on drugs” rhetoric is not just demonizing and infantilizing, but also completely ineffective. It works to deny low-income people the resources they desperately need while doing nothing at all to address actual drug-related issues like addiction or overdoses.

Democrats are reportedly currently scrambling to figure out a version of the Build Back Better bill they can make work and Manchin apparently says he’s open to negotiations. Of course, HuffPost’s report says Manchin has been talking about his planned refusal to vote for the bill in its current form for months while still allowing Democrats to court him like a fussy little prince so people are understandably skeptical.

(image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.