U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) shocked much of his own party this week when he announced his firm opposition to the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending agenda.
While the decision brought on an onslaught of criticism from his side of the aisle, it also resulted in some Republican efforts to talk him into switching parties.
“Sudden and inexplicable reversal”
Although he had long expressed criticism of certain aspects of the nearly $2 trillion agenda, Manchin made it clear in a Fox News Channel interview on Sunday that he would not be voting for the bill.
“I’ve done everything humanly possible,” he told host Bret Baier, according to Fox News.
Despite efforts to negotiate with the Biden administration, Manchin said he was left with nagging concerns about the impact of such a massive spending proposal on the nation’s economy.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reacted to the revelation with a statement of her own accusing him of making a “sudden and inexplicable reversal” regarding his position on the issue.
A number of his progressive colleagues in the House expressed even harsher condemnation, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who blasted Manchin’s “bulls*** reasoning” in opposing the bill and declaring him untrustworthy.
“That would change the majority”
Meanwhile, some of Manchin’s Republican colleagues are making overtures toward him. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), for example, was quoted as telling the West Virginia Democrat: “Joe, if they don’t want you, we do.”
The Texas Republican noted that he had not yet received a response from Manchin, but said a party switch would be “the greatest Christmas gift” he could imagine.
“I don’t know what he will decide to do,” Cornyn said, noting that West Virginia “has gotten increasingly red” in recent years. With an evenly split Senate, he noted the huge impact Manchin could have on the entire balance of power in D.C.
“I think his vote on Build Back Better is reflective of what he’s hearing from his constituents in West Virginia,” Cornyn said, according to the Washington Examiner. “So yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority.”
Of course, Manchin’s more moderate stance has put him at odds with his own party on other occasions. In 2018, he was attacked by some critics on the left for his decision to support the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.