Letter to Senator Manchin

Dear Senator Manchin.

Which part of the 3.5 trillion dollar people infrastructure bill do you wish to do away with?

Education: $726 billion toward universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds, child care for working families, tuition-free community college, investments in historically Black colleges and universities, and investments in primary care. (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee).

Perhaps you don’t think pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds is important to their mental and emotional development.

Perhaps you don’t mind if women can’t get back into the workplace because they can’t get their kids into child care or can’t afford it.

Which of the above things in Education don’t you like or see as unnecessary?

Immigration: $107 billion toward lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants, border security measures. (Judiciary Committee).

Is $107 billion too much for this, or do you think it better to let more undocumented people come into the US and stay undocumented?

Health care: At least $1 billion in deficit reduction, with investments in paid family and medical leave, ACA expansion extension, expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits, along with lowering the eligibility age. Also included are investments to address health care provider shortages, the expansion of the child tax credit, long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, clean energy, manufacturing, transportation tax incentives, housing incentives.

Is this too much for seniors, children, and the poor? Who do you think could do without?

People with disabilities, long-term care for seniors?

Agriculture: $135 billion to go toward agriculture conservation, drought, and forestry programs to reduce carbon emissions and prevent wildfires, climate research, debt relief, child nutrition, and funding for a Civilian Climate Corps. The budget outline aims to meet Biden’s goal of 80% clean electricity and 50% carbon emissions by 2030. (Agriculture Committee).

Perhaps you don’t see the need to protect people’s houses from being incinerated? Perhaps children can go without nourishment; after all, what they don’t have now they won’t miss?

Housing: $332 billion for housing affordability, rental assistance, homeownership initiatives, revitalization projects, zoning, transit improvements, and public housing investments. (Banking and Housing Committee).

Perhaps you don’t see the need to help the poor own a house or have somewhere affordable to live in? Maybe we could slice this in half, but how will you choose who to leave out? How will you decide who deserves help and who doesn’t?

Clean energy: $198 billion toward clean electricity payment program, financing for domestic manufacturing of clean energy and auto supply chain technologies, federal procurement of energy-efficient materials, and climate research. (Energy and Natural Resources Committee)

Climate initiatives: $67 billion toward funding low-income solar technologies, environmental justice investments in clean water affordability and access, EPA climate and research programs, federal investments in energy-efficient buildings and green materials, and investments in clean vehicles. (Environment and Public Works Committee)

Perhaps you think 265 billion is too much to spend on climate issues? After all, the Government doesn’t really need to set an example by purchasing a fleet of electric vehicles. And our kids don’t really need clean water, do they? If they get sick, we have medications that can take care of this.

Perhaps the coal industry could retool to mine for precious gems and minerals? Might be more money for them in that field and less danger for the workers.

Homeland security: $37 billion toward improving cybersecurity infrastructure, border management investments, federal investments in green materials procurement. (Homeland Security Committee).

What investments would you get rid of here? Perhaps you don’t mind if businesses or government offices get hacked?

Investments in Native communities: $20.5 billion toward Native health programs and facilities, education, housing, energy, and language programs. (Indian Affairs Committee)

I don’t think you would want to touch this one, would you? That might be misconstrued as racism or picking on a minority community.

Small businesses: $25 billion toward small business access to credit, investment, and markets. (Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee).

I think you would want to get behind this one and do the right thing for the business community.

Veterans: $18 billion toward upgrading VA facilities. (Veterans Affairs Committee).

The US promised to take care of veterans who served on behalf of the country. They deserve this – don’t you think?

And last but not least?

Voting rights? The John Lewis act.

You know that the only way this gets done is if you make an exception to the filibuster.

You must know by now that you will never get 10 republican senators to vote with you on this. They depend on restrictive voting laws and redistricting abominations to win elections so they will never vote against their own self-interest.

Now I realize that democracy in the US requires that majority and minority rights be protected. Still, in the case of constitutional issues, the minority can never be allowed to subvert the majority’s will.

The people of the US voted democrats in to get things done, and voting rights is the most important law this term. If you fail to pass this law, nothing else matters because you will be in the minority sooner than you think.

You know that if Mitch wants to pass something special and democrats are against it, he will change the rules and make an exception as he did with the supreme court and that allowed him to steal 3 seats like a thief in the night. He won’t hesitate to make an exception, and he won’t think twice about doing it either.

I know you are a man of strong faith. Your website tells me this. But faith requires action.

The apostle James said in James 2 –

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,

16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So, you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now, someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

Jesus makes a similar point in Matthew 25:43-45.

43: I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in, I was naked, and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

44: And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

45: Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’

Senator Manchin, you have the opportunity to show your faith by making the right decision and getting into “Good Trouble,” as John Lewis so eloquently stated.

You can choose to be a hero or a zero in the eyes of the Lord and men.

Phil Basten
Professional Counselor

Author: admin7