In an example of apparent palm-greasing, unusual even by Washington standards, President Joe Biden has just appointed Gayle Conelly Manchin to be federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the entity responsible for economic development and investment in its 13-state catchment area.
Her salary would be $163,000 a year, among the highest in the federal government. It would be only slightly less than the $174,000 her husband—and the Democratic Senator from West Virginia—Joe Manchin earns.
Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, but, as a matter of senatorial courtesy—and because of the rubber-stamp Democratic Senate majority—her approval is likely.
Sen. Manchin, of course, has emerged as the key player in Senate deliberations over whether or not to pass the aggressive package of radical legislation that President Biden has laid before the Congress.
The passage of President Biden’s and Demcoratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s bill to impose voting regulations. which would lead to weaker election security, or the bill to borrow another $4 trillion for domestic spending, largely hinges on how Sen. Manchin votes on the filibuster.
Originally, the West Virginia senator said that he would never agree to ending the practice "under any conditions." Lately, he has indicated that he would leave the door open to exempting the election regulation changes from the filibuster, likely assuring its passage.
More immediately, the appointment of Mrs. Conelly Manchin was announced on Friday, March 27, ten days after the Senate Armed Services Committee "indefinitely postponed" a vote on Biden’s nomination of his former staff aide Colin Kahl to be the Pentagon Policy Chief.
Kahl’s nomination had run into Republican opposition over his highly partisan tweet calling the GOP the "party of ethnic cleansing" and saying that Republicans "debase themselves at the altar of Trump." He is also under fire for his criticism of Israel.
The Hill reported that "Christians United for Israel placed full page ads in newspapers across West Virginia urging people to contact Manchin in opposition to Kahl, accusing the nominee of 'hostility' toward Israel. The same group also backed a letter sent to Manchin from 70 Republican West Virginia state lawmakers opposing Kahl."
Kahl strongly supports the US rejoining the Iranian nuclear accords, a position strongly at odds with the Republicans on the Committee.
Manchin, who sits on the Committee and was still undecided on March 16 when the nomination was postponed, voted to back the nomination and report it out to the floor on Wednesday, March 25.
Again, as stated, two days later Mrs. Manchin’s appointment was announced. We can only speculate as to why.
"Politicians use various inducements to get other politicians to change their minds on issues," Peter Schweizer, the best-selling author of the book Clinton Cash that exposed the workings of the Clinton Foundation, and the president of the Government Accountability Institute, told the Washington Times, perhaps giving clarity regarding the timing.
He also noted "Unfortunately, it often works all too well."
It is impolite and perhaps impolitic to suggest the president and a key senator exchanging in this sort of deal-making. But, based on the appointment of Mrs. Conelly Manchin, don’t count on Sen. Manchin to stand against the filibuster.
Dick Morris is former presidential advisor and political strategist. He is a regular contributor to Newsmax TV. Read Dick Morris's Reports — More Here.
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