The 2,700 pages of the so-called bipartisan “infrastructure” bill released Sunday night by Breitbart News show the commission Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) wife sits on will receive double the funding if passed, in a way to possibly ensure Manchin’s swing vote to secure the bill.
The legislation was written in a way to greatly expand the funding and power for the Appalachian Regional Commission, where Gayle Manchin sits as the co-chair.
Earlier in the year, President Joe Biden nominated Gayle to be the co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. This commission is an economic development partnership involving the federal government and 13 states.
The Washington Times reported that the bill’s language makes the Appalachian Regional Commission “set to receive an additional billion dollars over the next four years. The new funding is set to increase the agency’s federal budget by more than 50% annually.” This year the commission requested $235 million from the taxpayer-funded federal government for their operation funding. That was already a 30 percent increase from the $175 million they received in 2020.
For this to possibly secure the senator’s vote, the commission, where his wife makes $160 thousand annually, is given an additional $200 million annually to focus on projects, which equals one billion dollars from fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The Times added:
ARC’s funding increase is significantly larger than other federal regional commissions are set to receive in the infrastructure package.
Apart from money, the infrastructure package also expands the ARC’s authority to increase broadband internet access by providing grants and “technical assistance.”
The text of the bill was originally obtained exclusively by Breitbart News from U.S. Senate sources not authorized to leak it after showing “concern that the murky and secretive process behind this bill may have led to widespread corruption throughout its nearly three thousand pages.”
Before Gayle’s nomination to the commission, she held multiple government positions linked to education in their home state, where Joe was governor and held power from 2005 to 2010, the Associated Press noted.