Just when Joe Biden thought he had it easy!
Ever since the crucial runoffs in Georgia saw Democrats capture the final two Senate seats to win control with a 50-50 split — where Vice President Kamala Harris gets the tie-breaking vote on deadlocked bills — Biden thought liberals were in the clear to ram home any bill of their choosing.
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But Democrats are getting a reality check from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Manchin, a blue Senator in a red state, holds the cards.
He made this clear in an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Bret Baier, expressing his commitment to work with Republicans across the aisle, particularly on the COVID-19 relief bill.
Biden and the Democrats want to push through a nearly $2T bill.
Republicans want a smaller bill. At a Biden meeting with 10 GOP senators to negotiate a plan both Republicans and Democrats can agree on, the GOP proposed a $618 billion package with $1,000 payments to Americans.
Biden refused the offer.
Manchin is adamant that when something gets done, the Republicans will have been involved.
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“We’re going to make this work in a bipartisan way,” Manchin declared, “My friends on the other side are going to have input and we’re going to do something that we agree on. I’m not going to do it just down the lines of … just party line vote. It has to make sense … We’re not going to blow it down the line.”
What he told Bret Baier struck a far different tone than initial reports, where he reportedly said he would vote to proceed with a draft resolution put forth by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. This would allow Manchin to draft part of the reconciliation bill himself.
According to Fox News, under these circumstances the bill could technically pass under this scenario — whether the GOP votes it forward or not.
The Associated Press contributed to this article