Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declined to say when asked if he wants Democrats to keep control of the House and Senate after the 2022 midterms.
“Do you want the Democrats to keep control of the United States Senate and House of Representatives” in November? NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Manchin in a Sunday interview with “Meet the Press.”
“I’m not making those choices or decisions on that. I’m going to work with whatever I have. I’ve always said that. I think the Democrats have great candidates that are running. They’re good people I’ve worked with. And I have a tremendous amount of respect and friendship with my Republican colleagues. So I can work on either side very easily,” Manchin said in response.
“I think people are sick and tired of politics, I really do. I think they’re sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting and feuding and holding pieces of legislation hostage because they didn’t get what they wanted,” he said, adding that he’s “not going to predict what’s going to happen.”
Furthermore, the Democrat senator added he “can’t decide what’s going to happen in Kansas or California or Texas,” adding, “I respect the state for the people they send, and I give it my best to work with them, to do the best for my country. I don’t play the politics that way.”
It comes days after he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced a surprise deal on alternate legislation to the so-called Build Back Better platform, known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Manchin was booked to appear on five news shows, including NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Republicans have criticized the Manchin–Schumer announcement, saying that the measure would negatively affect the economy at a critical time when inflation is still rising and as the United States has posted two quarters of negative GDP. Most economists say that two straight quarters with negative GDP growth meets the definition of a recession.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) slammed the deal on CNN’s “State of the Union,” arguing Sunday that the bill will cause higher inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics this month said that the Consumer Price Index, a key measurement for inflation, rose to 9.1 percent in June, representing the highest figure since November 1981.
“We haven’t seen any text, we don’t even know what it looks like. So this is a disaster. This is going to make our recession worse. It’s going to make inflation worse,” he said. “It’s not going to do any good. I am really surprised that Joe agreed to this,” Toomey added.
Manchin faces reelection in 2024 in a state that former President Donald Trump won in the past two elections. More than two-thirds of West Virginia voters voted for Trump over Joe Biden in 2020.
“We’re not working for any party. We’re not working for any political idealism,” Manchin told NBC, criticizing “bickering over political outcomes and who’s going to be in charge of what” at a time of global tensions, war, and economic uncertainty fueled by inflation.