Administration

White House: Biden considers Manchin a friend despite latest policy break

The White House on Tuesday downplayed any personal rift between President Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as some progressive Democrats ramped up their criticisms of the moderate senator after he voiced opposition to a sweeping voting rights bill and changes to the Senate filibuster.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) on Monday called Manchin “the new Mitch McConnell,” likening the Democrat to the Senate minority leader and accusing him of standing in the way of the For The People Act, which passed the House along party lines earlier this year. 

“I think we’re going to leave the name-calling to others,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Tuesday briefing. “The president considers Sen. Manchin a friend. He disagrees with him on voting rights and the bill that the senator has expressed he won’t support.”

“The president will continue to advocate for the importance of that moving forward and the reasons why that it’s important and vital for our democracy, but we’ll continue to seek ways we can work with Senator Manchin even while we have areas of disagreement,” she added.

Psaki noted Manchin is proud of his independent streak representing a red state as a Democrat. She shrugged off the suggestion that criticisms of the senator were hurtful to him.

Manchin, a key swing vote in the 50-50 split Senate, published an op-ed on Sunday laying out his opposition to the For the People Act. He cautioned that pursuing voting rights legislation along party lines would lead to further divisions in the country.

He added that he would not support ending or altering the legislative filibuster that requires 60 votes for a bill to move forward in the Senate, dimming hopes among progressives for pushing through their agenda in a closely divided chamber.

Manchin’s op-ed left some Democrats questioning whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will play hard ball or push the West Virginia senator harder to get him on board with the Biden agenda.

Tags Chuck Schumer Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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