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Politics What you should know about W. Va. Sens. Manchin and Capito

04:40  08 june  2021
04:40  08 june  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Manchin's homegrown bipartisanship comes up against a changing world

  Manchin's homegrown bipartisanship comes up against a changing world When Joe Manchin was in the fight of his political life, vying for reelection in a state where being a Democrat had long been out of fashion, the senator's opening message to voters focused on the place he knew best: Farmington, West Virginia. © Maddie McGarvey for CNN Michael Angelucci, former state delegate, and Donna Costello, former mayor of Farmington.

In an unexpected turn of events, major decisions in the U.S. Senate now hinge on the Democrat and the Republican representing the state of West Virginia.

West Virginia, which will be down to only two congressional seats after its next redistricting, isn't typically as powerful in Congress as larger, more populous counterparts such as California, New York and Texas.

But in a Senate evenly divided along party lines, Sens. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, and Republican Shelley Moore Capito are positioned to swing key parts of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.

MSNBC Host Mehdi Hasan Questions Joe Manchin's Intelligence: 'Just Not Very Bright'

  MSNBC Host Mehdi Hasan Questions Joe Manchin's Intelligence: 'Just Not Very Bright' Hasan tore into Manchin for allegedly "aiding and abetting" Republicans.In an op-ed published Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin revealed that he will continue to oppose abolishing the filibuster and vote against the major Democratic voting rights bill. "The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen," he wrote.

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The makeup of the Senate hasn't been this close since the end of former President George W. Bush's final term.

In the event of a tied vote, Democrats can push legislation through the Senate via a process known as budget reconciliation, which would allow Vice President Kamala Harris to serve as a tiebreaker. However, the Senate must first reach a tie, meaning Manchin would need to vote in line with his party. Reconciliation also comes with constraints, which means Democrats can only use it sparingly.

Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, arrives to hold a confirmation hearing for Tommy Beaudreau of Alaska, to be deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior, at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, arrives to hold a confirmation hearing for Tommy Beaudreau of Alaska, to be deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior, at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.

That need to ensure all 50 Democratic votes for a bill makes Manchin's vote pivotal for the passage of a $15 federal minimum wage, corporate tax increases and voting rights.

Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin

  Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin Sen. Joe Manchin's defiant statement that he will not vote for a sweeping election reform bill nor vote to get rid of the filibuster has progressive groups and some Democratic lawmakers wondering when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will get tough with the West Virginia Democrat.Manchin is a member of Schumer's leadership team and Schumer has several points of leverage, including the power to replace him as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But Schumer doesn't have a reputation for getting tough with colleagues. Instead, he keeps them close and hardly ever criticizes Democratic senators who cause him headaches.

Capito is the top Republican negotiator on Biden's infrastructure plan, which the president pushed in his first address to a joint session of Congress in April. She has not budged on allowing a reversal to the 2017 tax cuts introduced during former President Donald Trump's term in office. On Thursday, Biden offered to keep the tax cuts intact.

Here's what you should know about the senators:

Who is Joe Manchin?

Manchin, who has represented West Virginia in the Senate for over 10 years, has occasionally sided against his party on progressive issues, such as eliminating the filibuster and passing the For the People Act, the Democrat's voting reform package.

"Some in my party have argued that now is the time to discard such bipartisan voting reforms and embrace election reforms and policies solely supported by one party. Respectfully, I do not agree," Manchin wrote in a June 6 opinion piece published online by West Virginia paper, the Charleston Gazette Mail.

Biden turns to Romney and Manchin for $900bn infrastructure bill

  Biden turns to Romney and Manchin for $900bn infrastructure bill By David Morgan, Susan Cornwell and Trevor HunnicuttWASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Tuesday broke off talks on an infrastructure billShelley Moore Capito, a Republican representing West Virginia, had been liaising with the White House over the bill. But their talks collapsed on Tuesday.

Since 2011, Manchin claims, no Senate Democrat has split with his party more often. He was the only Democrat to oppose a bipartisan proposal to provide zero funding for border security during the Trump administration and voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling.

The senator's middle-of-the road politics have frustrated his progressive Democratic colleagues. Manchin held up the passage of Biden's landmark $1.9 billion pandemic relief package because of his refusal to raise a weekly federal unemployment bonus from $300 to $400. Manchin eventually agreed to extending the $300 benefit for five months with a tax relief benefit.

He also voted against raising the federal minimum wage to $15 and resisted Biden's climate change proposals to cut fossil fuel emissions and end coal and oil subsidies, earning him censure from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, among others.

Jemele Hill, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, called Manchin "power hungry" and accused him of upholding white supremacy in a tweet Sunday for not supporting an overhaul of U.S. voting rights and election law.

Joe Manchin said in 2011 that the US was 'paralyzed by the filibuster' but is now blocking efforts to change it

  Joe Manchin said in 2011 that the US was 'paralyzed by the filibuster' but is now blocking efforts to change it In a 2011 press release, Manchin said that senators wanting to halt bills should turn to "sustained debate" rather than the filibuster.Manchin is currently the only Democratic senator refusing to back the For the People Act, a sweeping voting-rights bill that would cancel many GOP-led voting restrictions at the state level. It passed the House with no Republican Party support, and its chances of passing the Senate have been destroyed due to Manchin's opposition.

And in response to Manchin's op-ed, Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-NY, tweeted Sunday that it "might as well be titled, 'Why I’ll vote to preserve Jim Crow.'”

But Manchin has supported major Democratic objectives. He voted against repeated efforts by Senate Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a viable replacement. Manchin also opposed Trump's 2017 tax overhaul .

A former businessman, Manchin grew up in Farmington, a small coal mining town in West Virginia. He began his political career as a state legislator, then as governor of West Virginia from 2005-2010.

Manchin was elected in a special election to fill a vacant seat after the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd died in 2010. He was reelected to a full term in 2012. The senator currently chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Who is Shelley Moore Capito?

Capito was elected to Congress in 2000. In 2014, she became the first woman to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate and was elected with the largest margin of victory for a Republican in the state's history. She was reelected in 2020.

Capito has previously supported legislation for transportation and infrastructure. Along with Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, she introduced the Innovative Water Workforce Development Act in 2018. The act established a grant program to help develop workers in the water utilities sector.

The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin

  The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin It was March 5, right before the Senate’s doomed vote to raise the minimum wage to $15, and, as usual, Sen. Joe Manchin was the center of attention. But there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism. That tally surprisedBut there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism.

The Republican Party tapped Capito to lead negotiations of the infrastructure component of Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package.

In a March editorial published by USA TODAY, Capito called for ''fiscally responsible,'' bipartisan legislation to update and improve the country's roads and bridges.

Shelley Moore Capito et al. standing next to a person: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP's lead negotiator on a counteroffer to President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, walks with reporters as senators go to the chamber for votes on May 27. © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP's lead negotiator on a counteroffer to President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, walks with reporters as senators go to the chamber for votes on May 27.

"Federal investment along with investment from state and local governments and the private sector is essential to meet our current and future transportation needs," she wrote. "A multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill will provide certainty to states, giving them the confidence to make investment decisions and carry out projects that address these needs. We need to be fiscally responsible and thoughtful with spending levels, and avoid partisan lightning rods."

Capito currently serves on the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Appropriations and Rules and Administration committees.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What you should know about W. Va. Sens. Manchin and Capito

Joe Manchin keeps Democrats guessing on sweeping election bill .
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is keeping his colleagues guessing on whether he will back a sweeping election bill during a high-profile vote next week. Democrats are expected to hold a key test vote next week on S. 1, titled the For the People Act. The debate will spotlight a simmering months-long fight over voting rights. The measure is guaranteed to run headlong into a filibuster, but Democrats are hoping to at least put up a unified front and keep the focus on GOP opposition - not their own divisions. Progressive activists, meanwhile, want to get all senators in the Democratic caucus to back the bill.

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