Manchin On Changing Parties: "I'm A Good Old West Virginia Conservative Democrat" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Manchin On Changing Parties: "I'm A Good Old West Virginia Conservative Democrat"

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Sen. Manchin (D-WV) is asked what his response would be if Majority Leader Schumer asked him to vote to end the filibuster: "I would say, Chuck, have you sat down and tried to work with Mitch? And, Mitch, would you sit down with Chuck? Can you all try to work this out? Can we find some compromise to where we can get 60 or 65 of us voting for the same thing?"

Manchin on changing parties:


BAIER:  I want to move on.  
 
I talked to you back November. And we were forecasting about these Georgia run-offs. It was an uphill battle for Democrats, they thought, to win both. They did, and now technically have control of this -- the chamber in the new Congress, although it's tenuous.  
 
Here's what you told me about the filibuster back then. 
 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 
 
MANCHIN:  I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end that filibuster or to basically block -- stack the court.  
 
And then all the other things you're hearing about, Bret, also is, defund the police. I don't know of any of the Democrats in the caucus that are for defunding the police. We're not for that whatsoever.  
 
And when they talk about, basically, Medicare for All, we can't even pay for Medicare for some.  
 
(END VIDEO CLIP) 
 
BAIER:  All right, Senator, are you in the same spot today as you were back then? 
 
MANCHIN:  It's all true, Bret. It's all the same. Nothing's changed.  
 
Here's the thing, Bret. My job right now, being in a position I am, always being in the middle, is basically, I’m going to do everything in my power to bring this country together, to heal the country, and to work in a bipartisan fashion, which is the reason that we have the Senate.  
 
I'm going to do the job I have always done. I'm going to continue to try, working with the minority and the majority. And now that we're split, we need to bring this country together.  
 
And I think people want us to. I can't... 
 
BAIER:  So, if the pressure on, if the pressure is on from Chuck Schumer to get you to break the filibuster, to change the rules, what are you going to tell him? 
 
MANCHIN:  I would say, Chuck, have you sat down and tried to work with Mitch? And, Mitch, would you sit down with Chuck? Can you all try to work this out? Can we find some compromise to where we can get 60 or 65 of us voting for the same thing?  
 
I would like to think we could, if it's that important. And, sometimes, you just basically... 
 
BAIER:  But D.C. statehood, let's say. Let's take an issue by issue. 
 
D.C. statehood, Puerto Rico statehood, you said you're examining that.
 
MANCHIN:  I have --
 
BAIER:  In order for that to happen, there would have to be a filibuster -- a change in the rules to get to that vote, right? 
 
MANCHIN:  I don't -- from the standpoint you're saying there wouldn't be 60 senators to do that, I really don't know. 
 
I haven't really researched that. You brought it up to me the first time. There's been so much going on. I'm happy to look at all of these issues. But I have said what I have said on the others. I want the Senate to work.  
 
The Senate was intended to work. The founding fathers, Washington, Madison, Jefferson, this was the intent of the Senate, work where the minority has input. I have been in the minority, and we have had very little input. And I intend to work with my minority partners to have input, for them to have input. 
 
BAIER:  If the pressure, Senator, was too great from Democrats on that front, would you become an independent?  
 
MANCHIN:  You mean if -- I don't think the Democrats will throw me out. Do you think? I'm not sure. I mean, where are they going to throw -- I'm a good old West Virginia conservative Democrat.  
 
There's not a whole -- I understand that, Bret. But I'm still a proud West Virginia Democrat who loves my proud West Virginia Republicans. We get along. At least we used to. I hope they don't push us apart.  
 
But I intend to stay where I'm at. I can work. I'm very comfortable. And we will just have to see what happens. But I'm -- the pressure doesn't mean -- I'm too old to be pressured. My goodness, what are they going to do to me?  
 
MANCHIN:  I want this place to work. I love our country. I love -- I love the process we have. I want the democracy to work.  
 
I respect my Republican -- my friends. And I have really worked -- I tried like the dickens to work with the president for three years. I always want my president to succeed. And I want Joe Biden to succeed.  
 
I'm going to do everything I can. And I would like to think my Republican colleagues feel the same.  

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