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Conventional wisdom says that since Sen. Joe Manchin has said “no” to the Build Back Better bill, it will not be able to pass Congress. I disagree.
It is well known that Manchin supports some of the provisions in the bill. It seems likely that he and President Joe Biden could find common ground — even if the resulting bill is less ambitious than originally proposed.
But, really, does it need to be all about Manchin? Are we certain that there is no path for Republican support? Why not Sen. Susan Collins, well known as the most bipartisan member of the Senate? Collins is not a climate denier. She is aware of climate change and the effect it is having, and will continue to have, on Maine’s economy: its ski mountains, the maple syrup industry, lobstering, agriculture and the blueberry crops. She knows that sea level rise will affect coastal communities — longstanding wharfs underwater at high tide, low-lying shorefront homes at risk, roads needing to be raised.
In addition, many in Maine struggle with low wages, lack of opportunities and the high cost of housing, health care, heating, child care and post-secondary education. Maine has the highest rate of food insecurity in New England.
The Build Back Better bill will help with all of these. Why would a senator not want to support a bill that benefits their constituents in myriad ways?