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Opinion | Getting Past the Manchin Roadblock and Saving Biden’s Plan

To the Editor:

Re “President Seeks to Salvage Plan From Defection” (front page, Dec. 21):

Why do efforts by President Biden to resurrect his domestic agenda involve only Senator Joe Manchin? Why not Senator Susan Collins, for example, whose Senate seat is safe for another five years? Is there not one Republican senator who will support needed climate change legislation and other social programs in Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better agenda?

To hell with Joe Manchin; find instead the Senate equivalent of Representative Liz Cheney or Representative Adam Kinzinger.

Peter Lifton
Lexington, Mass.

To the Editor:

Joe Manchin may actually help Democrats in the 2022 elections if his opposition to Build Back Better results in separate votes on pieces of the proposal. Now Republican senators can say they oppose the whole package because of its high cost while ignoring what’s in it. If they all voted against separate pieces like lower drug prices or the child tax credit, they would give Democrats great campaign issues.

Bill Strawbridge
Mill Valley, Calif.

To the Editor:

It was not so very long ago that progressive Democrats contended that, whether or not one personally supported the impeachment of President Donald Trump, one still had to admire the courage of those few Republican legislators who bucked their own party’s leadership. They risked their political careers and voted to impeach when that was what their consciences required.

I personally did not support his impeachment, but I fully agreed with those Democrats that those Republican mavericks deserved praise rather than contempt for their courageous actions.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, where are those progressive Democrats rising to praise, rather than condemn, Senator Joe Manchin for the principled stand he is taking in opposing President Biden‘s Build Back Better plan?

Senator Manchin stands virtually alone in his party in calling attention to the financial gimmickry of the bill and the implications for inflation and the deficit. So why are progressive Democrats so reluctant to admit that he is as deserving of accolades for exhibiting his own “profile in courage” as were Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney before him?

Alan J. Miller
New York

To the Editor:

The Democrats should take advantage of their current representation in Congress and go all in on passing voting rights legislation. The time and energy expended chasing votes for Build Back Better should be over; if we don’t support fair elections throughout the country, nothing else will matter.

Ensuring the right of all citizens to be able to vote with equitable opportunity is critical — now! Then we can build back better.

Mary Ann Sternberg
Baton Rouge, La.

To the Editor:

Re “‘He Is Clearly Not Welcome on That Side of the Aisle’: G.O.P. Lures Manchin to Join” (news article, Dec. 22):

Unlike the authoritarian cult that is now the Republican Party, Democrats need to remain true to the founding principles that have so far allowed us to keep this republic. Among those principles are inclusion, dissent and diversity of opinion.

Rather than demonize and ostracize Senator Manchin, Democrats must stop the temper tantrum and get back to the hard and messy work of politics. This means crafting legislation that Congress will approve.

President Biden understands this. Too many other Democrats don’t.

Jay Markowitz
Pound Ridge, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Senator Joe Manchin answers to about 1.8 million people, the population of West Virginia. The senators of my state, California, answer to 40 million people. President Biden answers to 330 million people. Mr. Manchin, as well as his Republican colleagues, wield power far greater than the fewer voters they represent should entitle them to. We are living under the tyranny of minority power.

Cynthia Hicks
San Leandro, Calif.

To the Editor:

I can just imagine a rework of a classic Peanuts cartoon. Charlie Brown ruminates over the contents of his Christmas stocking: “Hey, all I got was this lump of coal.” In the corner, with outstretched arms, Joe Manchin exclaims, “I’ll be glad to take that.”

Jonathan Hirsch
Oceanside, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Sports Should Take the Holidays Off” (Sports pages, Dec. 17):

I agree with Kurt Streeter that pro sports should pause their seasons. Football and basketball should follow hockey’s lead and delay their games.

Returning to “normal” has given the virus more hosts to grow in and mutate. Of course we are all tired of restrictions, but our parents (or grandparents) sacrificed for much longer during World War II. Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff.

I am not a casual fan. I have been a Clippers season ticket holder since 1984 and at various times have had season tickets to the Lakers and Bullets/Wizards as well as the Buccaneers, Raiders, Rams and Chargers. If I can accept a pause, I think that most people can.

Andrew E. Rubin
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Re “Subpoenaed Trump Allies Slow the Wheels of Justice” (news article, Dec. 17):

The enablers of the January insurrection are cynically trying to run out the clock on the Jan. 6 committee subpoenas. They hope that a Republican-controlled House elected next year will end the investigation.

If the G.O.P. does take control of the House next year, the Justice Department could and should take over the investigation.

Mark Brady
Dix Hills, N.Y.

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