Manchin delivers ‘crushing blow’ to Dem agenda- POLITICO

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

SIREN — Late Thursday night, Sen. JOE MANCHIN effectively killed any chance of major climate-related provisions making their way into Democrats’ reconciliation package. The West Virginian told party leaders that “he would not support an economic package that contains new spending on climate change or includes new tax increases targeting wealthy Americans or corporations,” WaPo’s Tony Romm and Jeff Stein were first to report, “marking a massive setback for party lawmakers who had hoped to advance a central element of their agenda before the midterm elections this fall.”

What else he said: “Manchin told Democratic leaders he was open to changing federal laws that might lower prescription drugs costs for seniors… And the West Virginia moderate expressed support … for extended subsidies that will help keep health insurance costs down for millions of Americans for the next two years…”

NYT: “The West Virginia Democrat’s decision dealt a crushing blow to President [JOE] BIDEN’s domestic agenda, effectively ruling out action on anything beyond prescription drug pricing and health care subsidies.”

WaPo’s Jeff Stein: “Worth recapping just how much has fallen out [of a possible reconciliation deal] since this all started: Universal pre-k, child care, public housing, paid family leave, dental, vision care for seniors, free community college, Child Tax Credit, climate plans & a lot of other stuff I can’t even remember now.”

POLITICO: “His move leaves a slim health-care focused bill as the only option for Democrats who have long hoped for far more expansive legislation. … [It] sparked deep frustrations from progressives, particularly those who saw Democrats’ control of Congress and the White House as a long-sought opportunity to rein in carbon emissions.

Rep. JARED HUFFMAN (D-Calif.): “It’s important that every young person, every activist, the majorities of this country who are demanding climate action understand very clearly this is not the Democrats. … This is one man named Joe Manchin. When it comes to the most important existential issue of our time, this man is a wrecking ball.” 

ONE THING THAT COULD ENERGIZE DEMS —“Bidenworld, fellow Dems, dreaming of a Trump pre-midterm announcement,” by Christopher Cadelago

ANOTHER POSSIBLE GRENADE FOR THE GOP — “Republican fears of an abortion backlash grow,” by David Siders, Adam Wren and Megan Messerly: “Republicans knew the minute Roe v. Wade was overturned that they had a political problem, particularly with moderates in the suburbs who they need to vote for GOP candidates in the midterms. The unfolding story of a 10-year-old rape victim who crossed state lines from Ohio for an abortion in Indiana is confirming just how damaging the issue may be.”

THE PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW: GEORGE GASCÓN — Gascón was elected district attorney of Los Angeles County in November 2020 with 54% of the vote.

“I won handsomely,” he reminisced Wednesday during a 90-minute conversation at the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A. “I got over 2 million votes.”

It was a big victory for criminal justice reformers: the leading progressive prosecutor in the country taking over the movement’s top target, the largest county in the country and one that has long been hostile to change.

“I knew how challenging L.A. County was because I had been a police officer here for 27 years,” he said. “This office had been one of the leading incarcerators, death penalty, put young kids into adult prison. This office actually led the way.”

Back then, in the fall of 2020, after the murder of GEORGE FLOYD sparked a new racial justice movement, being a well-known advocate for criminal justice reform was an asset in L.A.

Black Lives Matter signs appeared in Beverly Hills, and Gascón leaned into his message of radical reform. “This is really about beginning to sort of dismantle systemic racism from the criminal justice system,” he said at the time.

Gascón moved quickly after he was sworn in. He ended cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. He told his deputies not to seek the death penalty anymore, to never try juveniles as adults, to stop prosecuting people for first-time non-violent misdemeanors, and to stop using so-called “sentencing enhancements,” which allow prosecutors to pile on jail time. And he did all of that on his first day in office.

Then came the backlash. 

When certains types of crime spiked in Los Angeles, Gascón got the blame. In Beverly Hills, the city council passed a vote-of-no-confidence resolution against him.

“It became fashionable for affluent white people to want to be pro-police accountability,” he recalled of the initial political shift after Floyd’s murder. “It was kind of the chic thing to do. So you also are going to want to be seen with BLM. They wanted to be in demonstrations, right? … I’m a little cynical now, looking back. At the time, I actually thought that there was a parting of the waters. I said, ‘For the first time, I’m hearing white affluent people understanding the suffering of black people in this country and poor people.’ And I thought, ‘This is a reversal.’

“I was wrong.”

California makes it relatively easy to recall an elected official. It’s been part of the state constitution since 1911. And in sour times, recalls spike. Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM faced a recall last year that he defeated. San Francisco recalled three school board members in February. More ominously for Gascón, last month, San Francisco recalled its district attorney, Gascón’s friend and ideological kin, CHESA BOUDIN, who had instituted many of the same policies.

There was talk of recalling Gascón as soon as he was sworn in. And those calls were coming from inside the Hall of Justice, where many of his deputy district attorneys revolted against the changes.

“The week that I got sworn in, they started talking about recalling me,” Gascón said. “And they had to be told you have to wait at least 90 days.”

In L.A., the deep state is real. Gascón can’t fire the deputy district attorneys who are so hostile to his agenda that they have publicly endorsed the recall.

“Think about Biden coming in and keeping DONALD TRUMP’s cabinet,” he said. “That’s what it’s like.”