Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Sunday he’s optimistic “brave Republicans” can be persuaded to join Democrats in passing a crucial infrastructure bill.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Manchin — a key vote in the 50-50 divided Senate — said Senate Democrats have to “continue striving” to get the 10 Republican Senators necessary to pass the $1 trillion Biden administration infrastructure plan.
“There's been seven brave Republicans that have spoken out, they have voted, whether it be impeachment or the wrongdoings of the president, whether it be for a [Jan. 6] commission,” Manchin said. “We have to continue to keep striving to make sure that we can get to that 10. And that's why we're called the deliberate body. We keep working towards that goal.”
According to Manchin, President Joe Biden “knows how the Senate works better than probably any senator sitting today, or as well as any senator sitting anything today.”
“He understands we're a deliberate body because we're supposed to be a deliberate body to cool things off that come from the House. That's what we're doing. We're looking every way we can to bring this country together and unite the country.”
“I’ve always been about bipartisanship. I've always tried to work in a bipartisan way and I've voted in a bipartisan way in the last 10 years of the Senate,” he added. “So I'm doing what I have always done. Let's unite this country. We don't need to be divided any further.”
Manchin said Republicans in the upper chamber “see the deadlock.”
“This is not something they desire or wish,” he asserted. “Why they haven't been able to break from Leader [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] … they're going to have to dig deep into their soul and the oath that we take and why we're there,” he said.
“I’m thinking that there's Republicans that know that the concessions were made was the right thing to do to try to start healing our country,” he added.
Manchin doubled down on his refusal to vote for the Democrats’ For the People Act on election reform, arguing there’s bipartisan support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to be expanded to all 50 states.
“We can do so much more with that,” he said of the Voting Rights Act. “And it's starting out to be bipartisan. I have Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R-Alaska] signed on in a bipartisan way and we can work on that one, which truly does protect the voting rights.”
“The bottom line is the fundamental purpose of our democracy is the freedom of our elections. If we can't come to an agreement on that, God help us. Someone's got to fight for this,” he added.
“I think the Republicans will fight for this and understand we must come together on a voting rights bill in a bipartisan way,” Manchin said. “You can't divide our country further by thinking you've given leeway to one or the other…. if they think they're going to win by subverting and oppressing people from voting, they're going to lose. I assure you they will lose.”
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