Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell quipped that Sen. Joe Manchin is “certainly welcome” to join the Republican Party after the West Virginia Democrat dashed his own party’s hopes by saying he would not support legislation comprising key portions of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.
On Sunday, Manchin told Fox News Sunday he would not support the bill, leaving it without a clear path forward in the Senate. Democratic leaders said they plan to keep trying to pass the legislation despite Manchin’s opposition.
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During an interview Monday on The Guy Benson Show podcast, McConnell said Manchin’s position on the Build Back Better Act is "the single greatest favor" he could give to the country.
“Ironically, in my wrap-up press conference at the end of the session last Thursday, I said the single greatest favor Joe Manchin could give the country is to kill this bill,” McConnell said. “That’s what the country needs, to see this bill killed. It is absolutely inappropriate and unnecessary at a time when we’re fighting inflation.”
McConnell said Manchin’s interview “was an exciting thing to hear."
"It was a great shot in the arm for the country,” McConnell said. “I think it’s exactly what the country needed at this particular time."
McConnell took aim at Senate Democrats and the White House for their response to Manchin's position. A White House statement accused Manchin of breaking his word to Biden.
"I was shocked at the vitriol," McConnell said. "And basically, it seemed to me that they were calling Sen. Manchin a liar. I think that was not smart. This is a 50-50 Senate. It’s going to be 50-50 for another year, and believe me, this is not how I would handle a disappointing vote like that."
As the centrist West Virginia Democrat becomes more of an outlier in his conference, McConnell said he would welcome Manchin joining the Republicans. Manchin has previously shot down such suggestions and said during a Monday interview that he hopes there is a place for fiscally responsible and socially compassionate Democrats.
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"He doesn’t fit well over there, but that is a decision ultimately that he has to make. We certainly welcome him to join us if he was so inclined," McConnell said.