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Through no real effort of his own, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) has arguably become the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate. Given the 50-50 split, with Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, if Manchin dissents on his Democratic colleagues’ positions and casts his vote with the Republicans, Chuck Schumer & Co. are left holding the bag.
So when this Joe talks, his voice carries weight on both sides of the aisle — although not always for the right reasons, but we’ll get to that.
And talk Manchin did. On Friday, during an interview with the Bipartisan Policy Center, he slammed Joe Biden and his puppet master handlers advisers for not starting his presidency with bipartisan proposals in an effort to demonstrate his call for “unity,” rather than “starting out in a strictly partisan direction,” as reported by Breitbart.
“We started wrong,” Manchin said.
“I think that Biden’s advisers have led him wrong to start out in a strictly partisan direction.
“We should have found something that we could have voted on bipartisan first and then gone down this lane when we hit a roadblock, and they didn’t do that.
“That’s fine, [but if] we’re going to start this, I’m determined to make it bipartisan because if we go off the rails and there’s no bipartisan, [sic] you ain’t coming back for two years.”
Manchin insisted he wouldn’t vote for legislation unless “one or two or three Republicans” also voted for “things we should be doing.”
“If they think they want to jam things down people’s throat? No. If we can’t get one or two or three Republicans to vote with things that we should be doing in a bipartisan [way] … I’m not going down that path and destroy this place.”
He contrasted COVID legislation passed during the Trump administration with the “partisan direction” of Biden.
“Even under Trump, we had five COVID bills, the total of the five totaled $5.7 trillion. Every one of them passed with 90 votes or more in the Senate. One of them passed voice vote, not even a vote, because we all agreed.”
But here’s the thing with Manchin.
What he says one time often ends up being 180 degrees different another time.
In February 2020, Manchin said he could potentially endorse Trump for reelection — just a week later, he voted in the Senate impeachment trial to convict Trump for abuse of power. “Everybody can change,” he said: “Maybe the president will change, you know? Maybe that uniter will come out, versus the divider.”
And just four days ago, Manchin said he wouldn’t vote for a COVID relief package strictly along party lines. Three days later, that’s exactly what he did, as noted by Breitbart.
Despite no support from Republicans, Manchin voted in favor of a Democrat-driven budget resolution toward the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which led to a tie in the Senate.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the deciding vote, also voted in favor of the relief package.
The bill now goes to the House where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the majority of House Democrats are expected to pass it and send it to the markup process.
Then again, as RedState reported on Wednesday, Manchin told Fox News anchor Brett Baier that he “respectfully disagreed” with Biden’s executive order to terminate the Keystone XL Pipeline permit.
Then again, Manchin’s state of West Virginia’s oil, gas, and coal industries wouldn’t take kindly to their state’s senior senator siding with Biden on Keystone.
Bottom line: Manchin has always struck me as a guy who first sticks his finger in the air to see which way the political wind is blowing before taking a position one way or the other.
Politics. Who knew?
In another example of Biden’s “bipartisanship” and “unity,” as I reported earlier, he told CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell in an interview that will air prior to the Super Bowl that Trump shouldn’t receive intelligence briefings, which former presidents have received, because of his “erratic behavior.” “He might slip and say something,” Biden said.