For the past week, activists have been kayaking to Senator Joe Manchin's yacht to question why he's refusing to support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to fund Biden’s legislative agenda. Thursday was the first day Manchin seems to have come out and talked with the protesters, although he didn’t say much of substance.
Standing on the back of his yacht called Almost Heaven (though some argue it’s a houseboat as opposed to a luxury vessel), Manchin assured those assembled he heard their concerns and understood them.
“We're working hard, we really are,” Manchin said, looking down at the protesters who paddled up to the yacht. “We want to get a good bill that's a balanced bill, that's well done. And I know it won't be enough for some, it will be too much for others."
When one protester shouted “we need to tax the rich,” Manchin quickly assented from the back of the $700,000 yacht that he lives on when Congress is in session. "I agree with that, I definitely agree. That's the one number thing we should be doing: fixing the tax code so everybody pays their fair share."
"We're all on the same page, gang. We really are," Manchin added. When another activist again said “tax the rich” Manchin agreed with a more annoyed tone from the back of the yacht: "We’re taxing the rich, I agree. We're going to make the rich and famous pay!"
Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.
As things stand, there's no evidence Manchin will do anything differently: he's committed to a $1.5 trillion number that abandons an attempt at expanding social programs in this country but will likely leave intact the fossil fuel industry, from which he collects $500,000 in dividends each year. In Manchin’s own words, he was “very, very disturbed” in particular by elements of the $3.5 trillion plan that target the fossil fuel industry