West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock Biden wants Democrats to keep Trump trial short Joe Manchin could show the Senate a better way forward MORE (D), a key swing vote in the Senate, expressed frustration on Friday about an interview Vice President Harris gave to a TV station in the state and said that the White House had not notified him beforehand.
Speaking with NBC affiliate WSAZ, the centrist Democrat said that the vice president’s interview was “not a way of working together,” and called on the White House to help find a “bipartisan pathway forward.”
“I saw [the interview], I couldn’t believe it. No one called me [about it],” Manchin said, according to WSAZ. “We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together.”
Harris had given the interview to push for the White House’s coronavirus relief proposal.
“To your point in West Virginia, one in seven families is describing their household as being hungry, one in six can’t pay their rent, and one in four small businesses are closing permanently or have already closed, so it’s a big issue in West Virginia and across the country,” Harris told WSAZ. “And that’s why the president and I are offering the American Rescue Plan.”
A request for further comment from Manchin’s office was not immediately returned. The White House also did not immediately return a email regarding the senator’s comments.
Manchin is seen as one of the most important votes in the divided Senate going in to President Biden’s first 100 days in office. The West Virginia senator has expressed some reluctance about the some of the provisions in White House’s COVID-19 relief plan, seen as Biden’s first legislative push, including the $1,400 direct payments to Americans in the bill. He previously supported a bill in December that provided $600 payments to Americans making less than $75,000 per year.
Some Republican senators issued their own call Sunday for a bipartisan compromise bill that Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden signs series of orders to tackle climate change | Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing MORE (R-La.) indicated would likely total less than half of what Democrats have asked for.