West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday that he “will vote in a bipartisan way” on the COVID19 relief package, and ruled out voting to approve the package with a simple party line majority through the budget reconciliation process.
Manchin appeared on Fox News’ “Special Report With Bret Baier” and was asked by host Bret Baier if Senate Democrats could count on him to vote for the package if it fit within the rules for budget reconciliation.
“Bret, what I have told everybody, I made it very clear from the President of the United States to all of my colleagues, we’re gonna make this work in a bipartisan way,” Manchin responded. “My friends on the other side are going to have input. And, we are going to do something that we agree on. I’m not going to do it just down the lines, just a party line vote. It has to make sense.”
President Joe Biden released the details of his proposed $1.9 trillion relief package on Jan. 14, prior to taking office. It has received heavy criticism from Republicans over its high cost, as well some specific details, including the proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and provide an additional $1,400 dollars of direct payments to Americans.
Some Senate Democrats have expressed their support to pass the bill through the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority rather than the 60 vote majority needed to pass other legislation.
Baier continued saying, “So, that sounds like a no, if they try to blow it down the line.”
“We’re not gonna blow it down the line. They can’t do it down the line,” Manchin said. “We have to look at basically how much we’ve already spent … There’s a lot of money that’s gone out the door.”
He went on to explain that senators know where he stands and that he doesn’t want to go back in history and repeat the failed negotiations over the Affordable Care Act in 2009, and that there isn’t enough time to have drawn out negotiations like there was then.
“I want you to know, I will vote in a bipartisan way,” Manchin concluded.