Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday challenged accusations by fellow Democrats that he is a “roadblock” in their ability to pass legislation in the narrowly divided Senate — saying he is interested in pursuing “good government.”
“I’m not a roadblock at all. The best politics is good government. I can’t believe that people believe that if you just do it my way, that will give us the momentum to get through the next election,” Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
“We won’t give this system a chance to work. I’m not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or basically this democracy of ours or the republic that we have,” he said.
Manchin suggested lawmakers in the Senate need to be more deliberative and allow the process to work as the system intended.
“I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or, basically, this democracy of ours or the republic that we have. If we have a 51-vote threshold in the Senate, the same as the House, the House wasn’t designed to be partisan,” he said on CNN.
“The House was designed to be hot as a firecracker. We were designed to cool it off. And that’s the Founding Fathers. It was a brilliant, brilliant strategy they looked at. So, why can’t we try to make this work?” he continued.
Manchin has taken heat from Democrats for wanting to preserve the filibuster, a Senate rule that requires 60 votes to pass legislation.
Some Democrats, aware of the approaching 2022 midterms and possibly the loss of their control in the House and Senate, have proposed scrubbing it to allow for a simple majority to approve legislation.
That would allow Democrats to push through President Biden’s infrastructure package, police reform and Washington, DC, statehood in the 50-50 divided Senate.
But Manchin said he opposes ditching the filibuster because it could send the Senate into political convulsions every election.
“If you have the violent swings every time you have a party change, then we will have no consistency whatsoever,” he said.
He also said during the interview that Biden’s infrastructure package should be split in two to separate the traditional measures like fixing bridges and roads — with Biden’s proposals for elderly and child care, broadband expansion and projects to battle climate change.
“I do think they should be separated, because, when you start putting so much into one bill, which we call an omnibus bill, makes it very, very difficult for the public to understand,” he said.
“When you talk about infrastructure, they understand infrastructure. Internet is a new infrastructure that we didn’t have before. And it should be. But you’re talking about transit, airports, the rail systems, the lines as far as our electricity, which is the grid system,” Manchin said. “All of these things need upgrade.”