“January 6 changed me. I never thought in my life, I never read in history books where our form of government had been attacked on our seat of government, which is Washington, DC by our Capitol, by our own people,” Manchin said, adding: “So something told me, ̵
The West Virginia senator has excessive influence in a chamber where Democrats control the smallest possible majority under a 50-50 biased split. Manchin says he will use this power wisely.
“I’ve seen people who had power and abused it,” he said. “I’ve seen people who sought power and destroyed themselves, and I’ve seen people who have a moment to make a difference and change things and used it – I want to be the third.”
Manchin’s comments come days after Senate lawmakers decided that Democrats could possibly use a budget process known as reconciliation several times this year, freeing up far more opportunities for Democrats to push Biden’s agenda by just a simple majority. But Manchin would not commit to going that route, claiming he would first see more outreach to Republicans.
“Reconciliation was never meant to be our main focus or our main means of legislation. It is not legislative. It has to be used from time to time. I understand that,” Manchin said. But he added: “There is time and place.”
Manchin also stood by his opposition to changing Senate rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold that needs to be cleared to pass most legislation to allow Democrats to push through more party-line legislation. “I’m not killing the filibuster. I’ve been very, very ready,” he said.
As it turns out, the Democrats would have 10 Republicans backing an infrastructure bill to pass it through so-called ordinary order. But it is not clear that any of them would come on board. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the Covid relief bill, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said Biden’s infrastructure proposal is too large to pass as proposed. Repeatedly pressured if he is convinced Republicans would come to “yes,” Manchin said more discussions were needed.
Asked if there have been any negotiations on the House legislation, Manchin said, “We have not yet received a bill, no, we have not. I am happy to work with them, sit down and we just call it healthy. sense. . “
Manchin said he has an open line of communication with the White House and a good relationship with Biden.
“They have been very, very kind in talking. We talk, we have communication as often as I would like, and as often as they want.” About Biden specifically, he said, “When he calls me, he calls, and then we have a good conversation. We’ve had a good friendship and relationship for a long time. We understand each other.”