We already know that Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, is not really your friend.
Krysten Sinema might have gotten more attention for her “no” vote for a $15 federal minimum wage because of the gleeful way she gave a thumbs down to helping lift people out of poverty, but Manchin was one of the millionaire senators right there with her. Manchin also has been playing games with unemployment benefits — again, this is supposed to be about getting relief to people who need it after a year of American life being turned upside down by a pandemic.
The issue of transgender high school athletes has nothing to do with COVID relief, but Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Republican from Alabama and 2013 Belk Bowl loser, tried to sneak the culture war into the $1.9 trillion package with what was officially called Senate Amendment 1386.
Congress can’t regulate high school sports, but it does have the power of the purse, and Tuberville’s amendment was “to prohibit funds made available under title II to States, local education agencies, and institutions of higher education that permit any student whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program designed for women or girls.” In other words, if your school or school district allows trans girls to play sports with other girls, no federal money — which is an easy way to get school administrators to fall in line.
It’s been documented that this is largely a non-issue, that trans girls make up a minuscule portion of the population, let alone of prospective high school athletes. It’s nothing more than culture war bullshit, and everyone knows it.
There also was no chance of Tuberville’s amendment passing, as it required two-thirds of the senate to agree, and that was never going to happen, which meant that senators could base their vote on how they really felt about the issue. The amendment failed, 50-49 (Alaska’s Dan Sullivan did not vote), right down party lines, except for two senators. The one who broke from the conservative mob out to apply cancel culture to vulnerable kids was Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Manchin voted with Tuberville.
He might have a “D” next to his name, but on Saturday morning, Manchin showed exactly who he is: a bigot who’s out to try to hurt some of the most vulnerable people in America, for no good reason whatsoever. His vote here was nothing more than a chance to show where he stood, and he very plainly stood on the wrong side of humanity.
At least Manchin did vote for the final relief bill, which passed strictly along party lines.