•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Inside Biden and Manchin's Joemance

12:05  09 june  2021
12:05  09 june  2021 Source:   politico.com

Joe Manchin is at the center of an extremely divided Washington. Here's how he got here.

  Joe Manchin is at the center of an extremely divided Washington. Here's how he got here. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is a key vote crucial to President Joe Biden's agenda with Capitol Hill bitterly divided along partisan lines. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) looks on during a news conference to discuss the national opioid crisis, on Capitol Hill June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Democratic senators discussed the opioid issue and how it relates to the Senate health care bill being considered.

Civil rights groups can't move him and neither can his colleagues. If anyone can sway Joe Manchin, it might be Joe Biden.

Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., described President Joe Biden as “just a good human being, but also an astute politician who understands the process in the Senate.” Still, they don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. © AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., described President Joe Biden as “just a good human being, but also an astute politician who understands the process in the Senate.” Still, they don’t see eye-to-eye on everything.

Four months after Biden helped secure Manchin’s vote for a party-line, $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, the president is taking a different approach with the West Virginia Democrat who's blocking multiple party priorities. Biden didn't sound pleased last week when, during a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, he appeared to take a public swipe at Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) by citing two Democrats who frequently sided with Republicans.

Mondaire Jones Says Manchin Op-Ed Might as Well Be Titled 'Why I'll Vote to Preserve Jim Crow'

  Mondaire Jones Says Manchin Op-Ed Might as Well Be Titled 'Why I'll Vote to Preserve Jim Crow' The West Virginia Democratic senator has come under fire for refusing to support the For the People Act following an op-ed he wrote for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.In the Sunday op-ed, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia said he was against the legislation because it had not garnered any Republican support. He felt a resolution for changes in voting rights should be reached with agreement from both parties.

But behind the scenes, the president — who spent nearly half his life in the Senate — is taking a more subtle approach to the senator.

In an interview, Manchin said Biden has not leaned on him to support the sweeping elections bill that the moderate Democrat publicly rejected over the weekend. Nor has Biden covertly asked Manchin to support another Democrat-only spending bill focused on jobs and the economy. Yet.

“The president respects the institution so much because he was here and knows it better than everyone else. He does not get involved,” Manchin said on Tuesday in the Capitol. “I already know where he is. I know the challenges he has, and I know basically the pressure he’s receiving all the time. We’re just trying to find a balance for it.”

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

  What you should know about W. Va. Sens. Manchin and Capito WVa. Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Republican Shelley Moore Capito are positioned to swing key parts of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.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.

Despite his jab at Manchin, Biden has largely remained quiet about the senator’s insistence that infrastructure bills be bipartisan and his opposition to both filibuster reform and the sweeping elections bill that expands voting access. Biden and his senior staff are regularly in tough with Manchin, according to a White House aide. And Biden appointed Manchin’s wife, Gayle, to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Manchin described Biden as “just a good human being, but also an astute politician who understands the process in the Senate.” Still, they don’t see eye-to-eye on everything.

“Biden’s very perplexed by Manchin. He doesn’t know how, or what he thinks. Or what he really wants,” said a lawmaker who has spoken with Biden recently. “That makes it hard for the president to ‘get him,’ so to speak.”

Known inside their party's caucus as the “Two Joes,” Manchin and Biden’s relationship is the linchpin in the Democratic Party's success over the next 18 months. Manchin is the squeakiest wheel in a 50-50 Senate that’s incredibly hard to tame, while Biden forged his reputation on cutting deals with lawmakers like Manchin, one of the last conservative Democrats in Washington.

Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure

  Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure Manchin dashed hopes on the left that recent events might compel him to reconsider his support for keeping the Senate's 60-vote rule to pass bills.The moderate Democrat, in a Sunday op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, not only revealed his opposition to the Democratic-backed For the People Act but reiterated he won't vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.

Without Manchin, Biden simply cannot win — and the ever-quotable senator says he’s committed to making the president successful. What’s more, both are back-slapping throwback pols from small states where everyone knows them, and each often harkens back to when the Senate wasn’t a morass of partisanship and gridlock.

It’s all part of what Manchin’s colleagues see as a larger strategy. Biden can win Manchin over when it matters, but the former longtime Democratic senator must be strategic in both timing and substance.

“There’s a personal relationship between the president and Sen. Manchin. I think that can make a difference,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). “He knows that he will have impact on Sen. Manchin. It would not be effective at this particular moment. But I think he’s waiting for that opportunity.”

Bipartisan talks are still playing out on infrastructure, for example, meaning it’s not yet time for Biden to secure Manchin’s vote on a more aggressive, partisan proposal. And the 50-member Senate Democratic majority lacks the votes to change the filibuster rules even if Manchin were to entirely reverse his hard stance against reforming it, making the West Virginian’s support for the sweeping elections bill a far less urgent matter for the White House.

Have West Virginia's senators squandered their state's moment in the sun?

  Have West Virginia's senators squandered their state's moment in the sun? On Monday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made that rare assertion on which Democrats and Republicans can both agree. “West Virginia doesn’t usually get this much attention,” she said. The state has a breathtaking new national park, New River Gorge, but she didn’t mean that, either. The press secretary was also not referring to Babydog, Gov. Jim Justice’s jowly canine, who recently became the unofficial mascot of the state’s coronavirus vaccination effort. “West Virginia” has of late meant just two people, at least as far as Washington is concerned: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat.

There will come a time, however, when Biden needs Manchin to back him up. And Democratic senators are confident that the president will be far more successful with Manchin than either former Presidents Barack Obama or Donald Trump were.

“Sen. Manchin is strong willed,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “But President Biden has dealt with plenty of strong-willed senators.”

Former Obama chief of staff, Bill Daley, said the White House has carefully controlled what is said about Manchin’s outsized influence in the 50-50 Senate.

“You don't need somebody trashing a politician. [Biden] would be incensed if that happened,” said Daley. “Other politicians may do that, but you have not seen one hint of White House staff disgruntled, mad at Manchin, pissing on him.”

Still, Biden’s comment about Manchin’s record made waves in Democratic circles. Manchin said Biden’s jab about his voting record was “out of context” and shrugged it off. Then, in an elevator ride with Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Daines said he was Manchin’s “body man” and briefly shielded him from a reporter.

“Joe Manchin is saving our country. Joe is trying to get bipartisanship,” Daines said. Manchin replied: “I need you to help me with that.”

Working with Republicans like Daines, Manchin sees his job “as saving democracy.” But Manchin’s bipartisanship-at-all-costs ethos has drawn the ire of House progressives and activists, particularly for his position against Democrats’ sweeping elections bill and his defense of the filibuster.

Joe Manchin's "highly suspicious" reversal on voting bill follows donation from corporate lobby

  Joe Manchin's U.S. Chamber of Commerce sure loves Joe Manchin. Is that why his op-ed on voting bill echoed their talking points? Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) heads to a vote in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The spotlight on Sen. Manchin grew even brighter after declaring that he will vote against the Democrats voting rights bill, the For the People Act, in his op-ed that was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail over the weekend.

When asked about progressive anger toward Manchin and his refusal to back the sweeping legislation to overhaul voting access, White House press secretary Jen Paski said Tuesday ”we’re going to leave the name calling to others.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.

“The president considers Sen. Manchin a friend,” Psaki continued. “He disagrees with him on voting rights and the bill the senator has expressed he won’t support ... We’ll continue to seek ways we can work with Sen. Manchin even in areas we have disagreement.”

Psaki would not say whether liberal attacks on Manchin worried the White House as they work to ensure Manchin comes along on Biden’s infrastructure proposals and other major agenda items. She said she suspects that Manchin, rather than feeling hurt, has a “stronger backbone” and his colleagues said being filleted by liberals actually helps him in West Virginia.

Democratic senators have held two caucus meetings on the broad elections bill, and Manchin attended only the second one, listening intently the whole time. Just a few days later, however, he came out against his colleagues’ bill — prompting a flood of private conversations with Senate Democrats intended to sway him.

“I don’t think it’s ‘can Joe Biden reach him or not.’ And that’s the end of the conversation,” said a Senate Democrat, who estimated as many as 10 Democrats have spoken to Manchin about voting rights in the past two days. But this senator also said Biden will be a key ingredient to swaying Manchin.

And as one source familiar with the dynamics put it: “Manchin is still getting everything he wants and unless you take something from him, he's not going to move.” That source said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is the one person who can move Manchin, describing Schumer as the person Manchin has the “strongest personal relationship” with and “whom he respects.”

Still, the majority of people who spoke about the relationship between Biden and Manchin said the president is key to moving Democrats forward. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), a member of Democratic leadership, said “President Biden understands West Virginia. I think Joe wants to work with the president.”

Manchin has always marched to his own tune in the caucus, voting more often with Republicans than his colleagues and opposing things like gutting the filibuster on nominations in 2013. But now he’s doing it at a time of total Democratic control and in a split Senate, making him the hardest Democrat to sway on big issues of the day and a pivotal vote that determines the success of Biden's agenda.

Former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who worked alongside both Biden and Manchin, said it’s in Biden’s “DNA” to “try to find agreements. And he's going to keep trying.”

“Joe Manchin’s the same,” said Baucus.

Sam Stein contributed to this report.

Joe Manchin’s sweeping new voting rights proposal, explained .
The pivotal senator has released a potentially transformative plan to promote fair elections.But on Wednesday, Manchin did something unexpected: He released a long list of voting reforms that he does support, potentially scrambling the congressional debate over voting rights as the Senate prepares to vote on Democratic leaders’ proposal.

usr: 0
This is interesting!