Another Manchin.

The Democratic frustration with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was summed up by the quip from Rep. Alexandria OcasioCortez of New York. Democrats were rudderless as winter ended. Their economic agenda was shattered and they hadn't begun sorting through the rubble of their build back better plan Gas prices went up because of Russian troops in Ukraine.

It was a time when snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat seemed unlikely. Cold water was often used on their ambitions. Few people trusted him to make a deal.

Manchin did not pull the football away at the last moment. The biggest climate bill ever assembled in Congress was signed into law by a red state Democrat just three months before the elections.

"Joe Manchin reminds us he's a Democrat every now and then," Cramer said. Being a Democrat is the same thing as being an Italian.

The package was drafted behind closed doors by Manchin and Schumer. Another important vote was shut out by the Democrats at the conclave. The scale of the deal's climate spending caught most in congress by surprise.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the director of the climate and energy program at the Third Way think tank.

He told Insider that the grants, loans, and tax credits provided by this helped drive the private sector to accomplish what they needed to. The bill provides funding for the installation of solar panels and heat pumps in order to cut the cost of buying electric vehicles.

Manchin had some parameters about how he wanted to do it, according to the president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. He is committed to federal investment in the clean energy transition.

"As the package moved from the social spending agenda to a clean energy infrastructure package, Senator Manchin became more supportive because the package reflected his priorities."

Only time will tell if Democrats reap political benefits

Bernie Sanders Joe Manchin
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) walks past Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee mark up, on Capitol Hill on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Manchin always said he was a Democrat. The state that Trump carried in the 2020 election was hailed from by him.

He sounded the alarm on inflation before Democrats did. The fiscally austere moderate stopped his party's efforts to expand the safety net for families because he didn't like the idea of an entitlement based society taking root. The plans to restore the Biden monthly child tax credit and establish universal pre-K were axed in order to accommodate his vote.

John LaBombard, an ex-aide to Sinema, recently told Insider that the party has spent the past year or so asking those moderate Democrats who never made these big, bold promises of progressive change and never campaigned on build back better to vote for these policies.

At times, Manchin was happy to play spoil for Biden. He was involved in blocking action on voting rights. His approach caused a surge in his approval rating in West Virginia to fortify his standing.

Democrats abandoned their pursuit of social spending on a level similar to the New Deal. They still claim to have a major victory on legislation that bears little resemblance to the Democrats' spending plan.

Progressives hold the line on Biden's agenda against moderates intent on paring it down. If Democrats retain control of Congress, they will return for the rest.

The full scope of the President's economic agenda has been advanced by progressives from the beginning. We need a couple more Democrats to make the rest of the agenda a reality.

It is a longshot. Biden's approval ratings are falling and voters are worried about inflation. Democrats may hold onto the Senate even though they are expected to lose the house.

The Inflation Reduction Act was not supported by the GOP. The cap on out-of-pocket spending on drugs for seniors kicks in several years after the election. There will be few, if any, electric vehicles that will qualify for consumer tax credits once strict source requirements take effect.

The economic agenda never stood a chance without Manchin. The only reason Schumer is named majority leader is because Manchin got elected in West Virginia.