Politics Here’s Why Schumer’s Mostly OK With Manchin Blocking His Agenda
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.
Washington’s most popular parlor game, after a round of, is guessing
, with the fate of the Democratic agenda in his hands in a 50-50 Senate. He’s going about it in his wide-eyed, can’t-we-all-get-along way that his colleagues might find grating if it weren’t so sincere. Senators in his party who agree with him from afar on delicate issues like the For the People Act and maintaining the filibuster . He told a confidant that after the shock of Jan. 6 insurrection, he feared a civil war could break out between and within the parties. He wanted to create .
Fox News' Chris Wallace Confronts Joe Manchin Over 'Being Naive' About Bipartisan Cooperation
"Haven't you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?" the Fox News host asked Manchin.Since President Joe Biden took office and Democrats narrowly won control of the Senate, Manchin has emerged as one of the most powerful people in Washington, D.C. The moderate Democrat has repeatedly emphasized the need for bipartisanship and opposed ending the Senate's legislative filibuster—putting him at odds with many Democratic colleagues. With an evenly split Senate, Manchin's support or opposition to Democrats' legislative priorities has become a key factor in determining whether they move forward or not.
Call him what you want—and—he looks like the Pied Piper as reporters and other Senators follow in his wake as he goes to cast another vote that will enrage someone. Eight Democrats voted against raising the minimum wage but Manchin and Arizona’s , a Green Party activist who’s tilted right since she ran for her seat in 2018, is generally inscrutable but something snapped in her that day. She flounced to the well in an exaggerated schoolgirl get up and what looked like a wig, gave a theatrical thumbs down, and flounced out seeming as happy to own the libs in that moment as Marjorie Taylor Greene is to taunt them everyday.
It’s messy up there. Manchin is generally at the center trying to calm things down but often stirs them up. He said it was the GOP’s duty to vote for a commission to find out what happened on Jan. 6, insisting "You have to have faith there's ten good people."
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.
No, you don’t when those ten good people in the Republican Party don’t show up even though the commission in question had already been watered down to a thin gruel with equal power between the parties and a hard stop on Dec. 31, no matter what. Republicans who believe subpoenas are mere invitations to show up would only have to stonewall for a few months before claiming to have exonerated the ex-president who demands it. Delay is their friend. Former White Housefinally came to Congress last week to give limited testimony on his own terms behind closed doors, four years after being ordered to do so and long after Ship Mueller set sail.
After bipartisanship failed in such an easy instance, surely Manchin would have realized he’s naive to believe anyone’s going to buy his belief in bipartisanship. Not at all. Afterward he said he’s not “willing to destroy our government” by ending the filibuster over it.
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.
Video: Manchin digs in: No bills without partisan support. Not now, and maybe not ever. (MSNBC)
No one benefits from Manchin’s belief there’s a pony in the manure McConnell is shoveling more than Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. As long as Manchin is so publicly standing in the way of so much, Schumer can go home, have AOC stand on the prodium next to him, and not get hit too hard by progressives for what he’s not getting done. Schumer’s up in 2022. AOC hasn’t said she’s going to primary him but she also hasn’t said she won’t so keeping her close is in order. Manchin taking the hits also protects Schumer’s other members running in 2022, like Arizona’s Mark Kelly, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen.
It’s unlikely any Democrat other than Manchin could win statewide in an increasingly Trumpian state. Trump won West Virginia by 39 points last year; as, no other member of the House or Senate represents voters who favored the other party’s presidential candidate by more than 16 points. In 2018, two years after Trump won the state by 32 points, Manchin won a second term by just three points.
Joe Manchin is opposing big parts of Biden's agenda as the Koch network pressures him
The Koch network has been actively pressuring Joe Manchin to oppose key legislative items linked to President Joe Biden's agenda.That lobbying effort appears to be paying off. Manchin, in a recent op-ed, wrote that he opposed eliminating the filibuster and that he would not vote for the For the People Act, which, advocates say, would limit the influence of big money donors on elections.
And for all his faith in Republicans now, it’s not true that the Democrat from West Virginia might as well be a Republican, as Joe Biden said this month when he said the reason he couldn’t get Democrats’ voting rights bill through was “two members of the Senate” — meaning Manchin and Sinema, “who vote more with my Republican friends.”
In fact, Manchin voted consistently against repeal of Obamacare and for Medicare for All, to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood, against Trump’s tax cuts (and for his impeachment), and periodically reintroduces a gun control bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey. He’s no longer high on S.1, the bloated For the People Act, but he wants to fatten and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Still I threw up my hands and said that’s it when Manchin stuck with the filibuster after losing the Jan. 6 Commission vote. Didn’t he hear Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell say he is "100 percent focused "on stopping President Joe Biden's socialist administration. Imagine what he’d says about a Democratic president he hasn’t been friends with for decades. Then I read something Manchin wrote when he took a hard vote last year against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
He warned that Republicans had chosen “a dangerous, partisan path” to cram Barrett onto the court an unprecedented eight days before an election. “The Senate is supposed to be the greatest deliberative body in the world… But each time a Senate majority – regardless of party – changes the rules, we reduce the incentive to work together across party lines” and “fan the flames of division.”
He’s applying that to his party now. And on Thursday it worked. The infrastructure bill that had appeared to be dead on Wednesday came back to life after hours and hours of Manchin talking it out in his safe place along with — you guessed it —
I still fear the country is paralyzed until the filibuster ends or McConnell’s obstruction does. Otherwise, an election has no consequences. But I no longer feel Manchin is wrong to play by the rules as they exist. He’s put his own seat on the line as collateral and so that others might survive. I’m sure he’s hoping for a pony to come out of it. I’m hoping too.
Joe Manchin's "highly suspicious" reversal on voting bill follows donation from corporate lobby .
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.