Vice President Kamala Harris seems to have already put an end to any chance of a rapprochement between her progressive caucus and more moderate Democrats.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Dem from West Virginia, complained Thursday that Harris gave an interview to a local news outlet in his state to stump for President Joe Biden’s new American Rescue Plan to combat the coronavirus — and she didn’t even give him a heads-up, let alone ask him to tag along.
The senator told WSAZ that he was snubbed by Harris, who served alongside him in the upper chamber before ascending to the vice presidency earlier this month.
“I saw it. I couldn’t believe it. No one called me,” Manchin said, as the Examiner reported.
Manchin calls for targeted COVID plan
The senator added that it’s important for Democrats and Republicans to “work together” if they want to find bipartisan solutions to the pandemic — and that includes among members of their own caucus who they might not always see eye to eye with.
“We’re going to try to find a bipartisan way forward. I think we need to, but we need to work together,” Manchin told WSAZ. “That’s not a way of working together, what was done,” he added of Harris’ snub.
With regard to Biden’s economic plan, Manchin said some parts of the package still need work.
“We want to help everybody that needs help,” he said, according to Fox News. “But if a person is making $250,000 or $300,000 [per year], I don’t think they’re in much as need as a person making $40,000 or $50,000. We’re going to target it.”
“A big issue in West Virginia”
According to the Washington Examiner, Manchin’s remarks came after WSAZ shared a Zoom call with Harris in which she pitched the Biden administration’s proposal to residents of both Arizona and West Virginia.
“To your point in West Virginia, one in seven families is describing their household as being hungry, one in six can’t pay their rent, and one in four small businesses are closing permanently or have already closed, so [COVID-19 is] a big issue in West Virginia and across the country,” she said during the call.
Harris also spoke about trying to find new employment opportunities for workers in the energy sector in the wake of moves by Biden to crush the oil and gas industries.
“All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry,” can be retrained, the vice president told WSAZ, “and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of dealing with reclaiming abandoned land mines, what we need to do around plugging leaks from oil and gas wells, and transferring those important skills to the work that has yet to be done, that needs to get done.”