- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2021

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer said Sunday that the Democratic Party should be thanking Sen. Joe Manchin III for opposing President Biden’s Build Back Better plan — not attacking the West Virginia Democrat.

Mr. Cramer, of North Dakota, said the massive social safety net proposal is widely unpopular and if passed would jeopardize the re-election hopes of vulnerable Democrats running in competitive Senate races next year.

“Joe Manchin may have saved the reelection of two, three, [or] four … Democratic senators who would have had to vote yes on Build Back Better, but would rather not have voted at all,” Mr. Cramer said on Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures.” “They were rewarded this opportunity to give it a pass for a year, and yet they seem hellbent on doing it.”

Mr. Manchin last week came out against the current version of the Build Back Better bill, voicing concerns about the size and scope of the plan.

The West Virginia Democrat’s posturing frustrated the White House and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill who are now plotting a new path forward.

Far-left liberal progressives are particularly furious with Mr. Manchin, saying he strung along Democrats during negotiations and cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith.

Mr. Cramer, meanwhile, says the far-left fury is influencing Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s decision-making and clouding his vision.

The North Dakota Republican told Fox on Sunday that Mr. Schumer is concerned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a far-left firebrand, will launch a primary challenge against him in New York.

“In my mind what is such a great tragedy about it is: a once-great Democratic Party has become this bizarre socialist agenda where they seem to be putting all the chips on the table this year while they have control of the House, the Senate and the White House,” Mr. Cramer said. “And thank god for Joe Manchin and others like him, but especially Joe Manchin who is trying to save America and in the process might very well save the Democratic Party.”

‘Maybe there [are] a whole bunch of Dems members willing to be martyrs at the altar of socialism,” Mr. Cramer said. “If that’s the case maybe they will find a way to vote on it yet, and further lead to their political demise while destroying the country.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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