Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former President Donald Trump agree on one thing: President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” social spending bill deserves to be defeated in the Senate.
In a tweet on Sunday, Hogan thanked Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for pulling the plug on Biden’s $2.4 trillion proposal, a position that puts him in line with Trump, who has argued against the Democratic legislation since it was proposed.
Hogan is among the nation’s most prominent Trump critics and has been since before the former president won the White House in 2016.
But as the governor reminded voters with his tweet applauding Manchin for potentially killing Biden’s Build Back Better proposal once and for all, he is still a conservative Republican who opposes massive government spending and expanding social programs. The conservative elements of Hogan’s agenda have often been overruled by Maryland’s heavily Democratic General Assembly during his six years in the governor’s mansion.
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“I want to thank my friend @Sen_JoeManchin for his independent leadership,” Hogan tweeted Sunday. “Standing up to your own party is never easy, but as John F. Kennedy said, ‘Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.’”
I want to thank my friend @Sen_JoeManchin for his independent leadership. Standing up to your own party is never easy, but as John F. Kennedy said, "Sometimes party loyalty asks too much." https://t.co/RmW4BtQloi— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) December 19, 2021
Manchin announced during an interview on Fox News Sunday that he has decided to oppose Biden’s social spending bill after months of negotiations with the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress. The House-passed legislation is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate, but because all Republicans are against the bill, it needs the support of all 50 Democrats to clear. Even then, passage requires Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.
If Manchin’s declaration holds, the Build Back Better proposal is dead because it will be one vote shy of enough votes to clear the Senate.
Should talks on revised legislation restart next year and result in a breakthrough, the bill would then head back for reconsideration in the House, where liberals would likely take issue with the presumably pared-back legislation. Manchin said he opposes the high price tag, though it has already been reduced, reaching $2.4 trillion per the Congressional Budget Office — not to mention the scope of the programs the bill would create and expand.
Viewed from that vantage point, Hogan cheering the proposal’s apparent demise is not surprising. That Hogan wrapped his approval of the bill’s death around Manchin also makes sense. Both were reelected in 2018 in states that otherwise do not elect members of their respective political parties to statewide office. Both lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington and supported the bipartisan infrastructure bill that Biden signed into law in November — and that Trump vehemently opposed.
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And both know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of daggers from their respective party’s establishment: Manchin for opposing Biden’s social spending bill and down-talking the proposal for several months, and Hogan for not only opposing Trump and refusing to vote for him, but also for loudly voicing his criticism of the former president whenever asked.
Senate Republicans are attempting to lure the Maryland governor into the 2022 Senate race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, though the Republican is thought to be more interested in running for president in 2024.