U.S. Senate

West Virginians Are Furious With Joe Manchin For Blocking Federal Aid They Need To Survive: Report

Ruth and James Jones of Charleston, West Virginia, are raising their two grandchildren, ages 10 and 17, and are struggling to get by.

James works part-time as a cook at Applebee’s and Ruth is on Social Security.

So it was a blessing to both of them when the child tax credit was put forth by the Biden administration and made part of the American Recovery Act, according to the Washington Post:

“Like thousands of other West Virginians, their financial burden has been eased since July by monthly federal payments, championed by the Biden administration, to support families with children. Now, however, those funds — which total $500 a month — could vanish if lawmakers agree to the demands of their own senator, Joe Manchin.”

James, who is now 64, has a message for his senator:

“We want Manchin to take a little bit more active role in protecting us as far as West Virginians. We’re not a bunch of deadbeats. We work for a living and we’re due.”

That same anger mixed with pain is being played out across the state, with Beth Zarate, president and chief executive of Catholic Charities West Virginia, noting:

“For some of our clients, this is keeping them above water right now. West Virginia just has so many challenges. We struggle with jobs, we struggle with our people leaving our state for other jobs. So the Child Tax Credit has been huge.”

A month ago, Manchin said he couldn’t support extending the child tax credits for another year:

“There’s no work requirements whatsoever. There’s no education requirements whatsoever for better skillsets. Don’t you think, if we’re going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?”

The Child Tax Credit has been especially helpful in West Virginia, which remains one of the poorest states in the country. And the purpose of the program is to help lift children and their parents out of poverty, which polls show is supported by a the vast majority of Americans:

In West Virginia, 170,000 children became newly eligible under the tax credit expansion, which was included in Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed in March. The changes to the tax credit raised the maximum benefit from $2,000 to $3,600 per child per year and dramatically expanded the share of poor families receiving the credit. In July, the food insecurity rate in West Virginia households with children dropped from 11.6 percent to 8.4 percent, and in September a survey found 86 percent of West Virginians felt the payments had made a “huge difference.”

Despite those facts, Manchin continues to be an obstacle to helping alleviate the suffering of his own constituents, and that threatens the health and futures of hundreds of thousands of kids in West Virginia, which doesn’t seem to bother the senator in the least.

All of this has left many wondering who exactly Joe Manchin is working for: Them, or the lobbyists who are busily pumping money into his campaign to help get him re-elected to yet another term in 2025?

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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