Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) denied a Wednesday report from Mother Jones that he is considering leaving the Democrat Party.
“It’s bullshit!” Manchin quipped when asked about a possible departure from the Democrat Party.
"It's bullshit!" Joe Manchin says when asked if it's true he's considering switching political parties.
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) October 20, 2021
Mother Jones DC Bureau Chief David Corn claimed, citing anonymous sources, that Manchin has been privately discussing the potential move:
[Manchin] told associates that he has a two-step plan for exiting the party. First, he would send a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, removing himself from the Democratic leadership of the Senate. (He is vice chairman of the Senate Democrats’ policy and communications committee.) Manchin hopes that would send a signal. He would then wait and see if that move had any impact on the negotiations. After about a week, he said, he would change his voter registration from Democrat to independent.
It is unclear whether in this scenario Manchin would end up caucusing with the Democrats, which would allow them to continue to control the Senate, or side with the Republicans and place the Senate in GOP hands. In either event, he would hold great sway over this half of Congress. […] Manchin told associates that he was prepared to initiate his exit plan earlier this week and had mentioned the possibility to Biden.
Corn’s report cames as Biden sat down with far-left House Democrats, where he pushed for spending plans with a $1.9 trillion price tag, down from his original $3.5 trillion proposal, according to the Washington Post. Biden’s new proposal includes funding to expand universal pre-K, expanding Medicare, along with subsidizing child care, New York Times notes. The president appears likely to abandon his previous pledge provide money for two years free community college and his clean electricity program, a move which will undoubtedly draw scorn from education and green activists.
On Tuesday, the White House attempted to project strength amid lagging negotiations, saying Biden feels “more confident” after “constructive” meetings with both far-left and moderate congressional Democrats.
“I do feel like we’re getting closer. I think we’re all working really hard to try to get this done,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said in a statement to Punchbowl News.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who has strongly opposed her party’s eye-watering spending bills, has yet to comment on the latest round of negotiations.
Biden aims to pass a spending bill prior to attending G-20 meeting in Italy and the COP 26 climate summit in Scotland.