Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, says he texted Sen. Joe Manchin that he would have a place across the aisle if he decided to switch parties.
Manchin, who has been courted in recent days by Republican leadership as Democrats slam his role as the 51st vote killing President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda, would be a welcome addition to the party, the Republican senator said.
“Joe, if they don’t want you, we do," the former whip said his Tuesday message to the centrist Democrat read.
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Cornyn said Manchin hasn't responded yet, but if he took the offer, it would be “the greatest Christmas gift I can think of.”
Republicans have extended numerous invitations for Manchin to switch to their party during his monthslong battle against the high-spending bills backed by the Biden administration, including a recent bid from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said the West Virginia Democrat would “be joining a lot of folks who have similar views on a whole range of issues” if he jumped ship.
“I don’t know what he will decide to do,” Cornyn said. “But I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red … And I think his vote on Build Back Better is reflective of what he’s hearing from his constituents in West Virginia. So yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority.”
Manchin announced Sunday that he would not be voting for Biden's Build Back Better agenda, generating backlash from the progressives in his party. Several left-wing members of the party broke ranks to vote against a bipartisan infrastructure bill in November, warning that failing to tie the infrastructure proposal to the broad social spending bill would lead to the latter's defeat at the hands of centrists.
“We have been saying for weeks that this would happen,” Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush said on MSNBC Sunday. “What we had was a bit of leverage, which was having the coupling of the two bills — the BIF, the infrastructure package, as well as the Build Back Better Act … And what did the caucus do? We tossed it.”
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A spokesperson for Cornyn's office told the Washington Examiner there was no update on the senators' communication as of Wednesday.