Forget the talk of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., switching parties, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who expects him to be a Democrat for "life."
"Well, Sen. Manchin has pointed out over and over again he's been a Democrat all of his life," McConnell told Fox News on Thursday. "I am certainly not anticipating that he's going to cross the aisle."
"But I do admire his willingness to protect the Senate as an institution."
Manchin has come under fire among Democrats for not backing partisan passage of Democrat agenda items during the first few months of President Joe Biden's term, including from the president himself.
Biden lamented earlier this month that Manchin is stalling bills by "voting with Republicans."
But McConnell noted America's founders designed the Senate and its filibuster rule of 60 votes to pass a bill as a check and balance against one party forcing through partisan legislation.
"The filibuster is not so much about a particular issue as it is about the institution," McConnell said. "It was constructed in the beginning of the country to slow things down, to make sure the right thing was done for the country, and of course it takes 60 votes, not just 51, to advance an agenda in the Senate.
"The reason for that is you have to have broad bipartisan support in order to get over the 60-vote threshold. That is the essence of the Senate."
Supporting the Senate filibuster should not ostracized anyone from any party, McConnell added.
"So I admire the Democratic senators who believe the institution of the Senate is important and they're willing to protect it," he concluded.
Manchin is widely regarded as a moderate and has won reelection in the state of West Virginia that was held by former President Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
Manchin has rejected McConnell's overtures to switch parties "many times," he said in 2019, according to The Hill.
His positions on healthcare and taxes do not fall in line with the Republican Party, even if he is more moderate than Democrats and progressives would like, The Hill noted.
"I've never considered it from that standpoint because I know I can change more from where I'm at," Manchin told Vox earlier this year.
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