Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued a public campaign to convince Sen. Joe Manchin to join Republican ranks after the centrist Democrat announced this week he would not support spending legislation comprising President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, citing its price tag.
The West Virginia Democrat has previously dismissed speculation he would switch parties, calling a report this fall that he would leave the Democratic Party to become an independent “bulls***.” After announcing his opposition to the Build Back Better Act, Manchin told a West Virginia radio host he hopes there is still a place for “fiscally responsible and socially compassionate” Democrats.
If Manchin bolted the Democratic Party, McConnell would become Senate majority leader. Democrats currently hold the majority in the 50-50 chamber through Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote, meaning the Senate cannot pass the Biden-backed spending bill without Manchin’s support. Senate Democrats have indicated they will proceed with a vote on the measure in the New Year.
McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday that Manchin is “a man alone” in his party.
MCCONNELL QUIPS MANCHIN IS ‘CERTAINLY WELCOME’ TO JOIN GOP
“As I’ve said the last couple of days, I’ve had this conversation with him off and on for a couple of years,” McConnell said. “We come from states that have a lot in common, that have become increasingly red over the last decade or so. And I think what Manchin is discovering is that there just aren’t any Democrats left in the Senate that are pro-life and terribly concerned about debt and deficit and inflation.”
The Kentucky Republican said if Manchin were to switch parties, “he’d be joining a lot of folks who have similar views on a whole range of issues.”
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McConnell took aim at Senate Democrats and the White House for their response to Manchin’s opposition to the bill, “basically calling him a liar.”
“It was astonishing,” McConnell said. “Usually, when you’ve got a member a little bit out of sync with everybody else, you give him a lot of love. They did exactly the opposite.”