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Senator Joe Manchin (W., Va.), a moderate Democrat, on Sunday defended himself against allegations that he is a “roadblock” to advancing Democratic legislation.
“I’m not a roadblock at all,” Manchin said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union when host Dana Bash asked the West Virginian how he would respond to accusations from Democrats that he is a “roadblock” to Democrats passing legislation while the party has control of the presidency and both chambers of Congress.
“The best politics is good government,” Manchin added. “I can’t believe that people believe that if you just do it my way, that will give us the momentum to get through the next election.”
“We won’t give this system a chance to work,” he added. “I’m not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours, or basically this democracy of ours, or the Republic that we have.”
Bash also asked Manchin for his thoughts on the GOP’s counterproposal to Biden’s infrastructure plan.
He said the plan is a “good start” and he is “glad they did it” because it came from the Committee on Environment and Public Works where fellow West Virginian, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, is “basically the ranking member” and Senator Tom Carper (D., Del.) is chairman.
“They worked it together so we know it has bipartisan support, we just have to look to see if we’ve gotten everything in there that we need,” he said.
Last week Manchin suggested Congress should focus on “conventional” infrastructure and break up Biden’s $2 trillion plan, which includes provisions that some lawmakers have argued do not qualify as infrastructure, such as expanding resources for home care for the elderly and child care facilities.
“What we think the greatest need we have now, that can be done in a bipartisan way, is conventional infrastructure whether it’s the water, sewer, roads, bridges, Internet — things that we know need to be repaired, be fixed,” Manchin said.
Asked if he supports the non-infrastructure provisions, Manchin said he believes those measures are “needed” but should go through hearings and professionals should be brought in to discuss them.