Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who wields substantial power in the 50-50 Senate, says he’ll insist Republicans have a voice in the Biden administration’s infrastructure and climate package — or he’ll block it.
The moderate Democrat, who represents a state twice won by former President Donald Trump, told Axios he'll push for tax hikes to pay for the upcoming plan and use his Energy Committee chairmanship to get the GOP to confront what he says is the reality of climate change.
Manchin says President Joe Biden knows what he faces with his next undertaking.
"He's the first president we've had to really, really understand the workings of the Senate since LBJ,” Manchin, 73, told Axios, referring to the 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Manchin said that, with just a few Democrat concessions, it would’ve been possible to get some GOP Senators on board for the COVID-19 stimulus package that passed the Senate on a party-line vote.
But if GOP Senators aren’t included in planning the estimated $2-to-4 trillion climate and infrastructure package, he's vowing to block it.
“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation," a legislative process requiring only a simple majority and that was deployed for the COVID stimulus bill, Manchin said. "I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start trying."
When asked if he believes it’s possible to get 10 Republicans to back the infrastructure package — which along with the 50 Democrat votes in the chamber would give the Senate the 60 votes needed to pass it under normal rules — he responded “I sure do.”
"I would say this to my friends: You've got power ... Don't abuse it," Manchin told Democrats who've advocated abolishing the filbuster to pass legislation via a simple majority. "And that's exactly what you'll be doing if you throw the filibuster out."
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