Sen. Joe Manchin III, one of the Democrats’ most conservative and oppositional members, on Sunday refused to endorse Joe Biden if the president seeks a second term in 2024 and declined to say whether he wants Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Congress after the November elections.
In a round of appearances on five news shows, the West Virginia senator also expressed hope that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) would endorse a democratic package of heatedhealth and fiscal initiatives that the business. He joined Manchin last year in forcing cuts and changes to larger versions of the plan, and it takes the support of all Senate Democrats 50-50, plus Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, to overcome opposition. unanimous early Republican in expected votes this week. Sinema has refused to tell reporters where she stands.
“I’d like to think she would be in favor of it,” he said.
But beyond that, Manchin demurred when pressed about supporting his party or its candidate for president in the next election.
“I am not going to go into 2022 or 2024,” he said, adding that “whoever is my president, that is my president.”
Manchin said control of Congress will be determined by the choices of voters in individual states, rather than their own preferences. People “are sick and tired of politics,” he said, and want their representatives in Washington to put country above party.
The senator faces reelection in 2024 in a state where Donald Trump prevailed in every county in the last two presidential races, winning more than two-thirds of West Virginia voters. But distancing himself from his fellow Democrats, Manchin also tried to condemn the rise of partisanship and suggested that America’s way forward will have to go beyond traditional party-line politics.
His national television interviews capped off a high-profile week in which your commitment with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) revived a package of White House Priorities on climate, health, taxes and deficit reduction. Manchin had torpedoed a grander plan last December and previously lowered expectations that a substantial agreement would be reached.
Both he and Sinema were previously aligned on opposing Democratic senators’ plans to spend up to $3.5 trillion on a climate and social justice bill. Sinema, however, was left out of the most recent discussions of the bill, which would reduce the so-called accrued interest loophole, bringing in $14 billion of the proposal’s $739 billion in new revenue. Sinema has previously objected to doing that.
Manchin said Sunday that he did not tell Sinema or anyone else in the Democratic caucus about the negotiations because of the risk that the discussions could collapse. Acknowledging that she hasn’t tried to talk to Sinema since she announced the deal, Manchin said there were many reasons why she would be “positive about it.”
He said the plan, the Reduce Inflation Act, would help with manufacturing jobs, reduce deficits by $300 billion, lower prescription drug prices and speed up the process of obtaining permits for energy production.
Sinema “has a lot in this legislation because of the way it’s been designed in terms of shrinking Medicare, letting Medicare go ahead and negotiate lower drug prices,” Manchin said.
He defended the minimum 15% tax on corporations with $1 billion or more in profits as closing “loopholes”, rather than an outright tax increase.
“I agree 100% with her that we are not going to raise taxes, and we are not,” he said.
Schumer wants the Senate to pass it next week, though he acknowledged the timeline “is going to be difficult” because the House MP will need time to make sure the bill fits into Senate rules.
In the House, Democrats have a 220-211 lead, with four vacancies, leaving little room for error for approval.
Manchin praised Biden regarding the bill because “you don’t make a bill of this magnitude and size without the president knowing what’s going on, the president is involved, to a degree, but he also gives his approval.” But in midterms, voters often reject the party in the White House, and this year, Biden’s unpopularity and rising inflation are creating serious obstacles for Democrats.
Manchin demurred when asked if he expected Democrats to maintain their majority in Congress.
“I think people are sick and tired of politics, I really do. I think they’re sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting and fighting and holding pieces of legislation hostage because they didn’t get what they wanted,” he said, adding, “I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen. ”
Manchin appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CNN’s “State of the Union,” ABC’s “This Week,” “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.