Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said it would help him “more than anything” if the Democrat Party campaigned against him in West Virginia, pressuring him to do away with the filibuster.
“What are they going to do, they going to go into West Virginia and campaign against me? Please, that would help me more than anything,” Manchin told the New York Times.
“I’m concerned about the House pushing an agenda that would be hard for us to maintain the majority,” Manchin said about the legislation the House Democrats are sending to the Senate floor.
Manchin’s comments come after Vice President Kamala Harris in early February attempted to pressure Manchin into voting for the 1.9 trillion coronavirus package by going on a local news station in West Virginia.
Manchin didn’t take kindly to Harris’s interview. “I couldn’t believe it. No one called me,” Manchin said then. “We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, I think we need to. But we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together.”
Manchin has also seemed to relish his linchpin position of determining the filibuster’s fate, saying to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “I know one thing, Chuck, you wouldn’t have this problem at all if I wasn’t here.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who is close to the Biden administration and from Biden’s home state, pushed back on Manchin’s above board comments. “He should want to get rid of the filibuster because he suddenly becomes the most powerful person in this place — he’s the 50th vote on everything,” Coons said.
Multiple Democrat Senators have also commented on canceling the filibuster without much concern for what President Joe Biden said in his inaugural address: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue…”
But Manchin’s response to his party’s ratcheted up pressure to end the Senate precedent was a request for the Democrat Party to compromise with Republicans on legislation.
“Why don’t you ask people when was the last time they took time to talk to some of the people on this side? Try to convince them, or work with them. Have you had dinner with them?” Manchin asked. “Have you had a lunch with them? Have you had a cup of coffee with them? Try something.”