Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key swing vote in the Senate, said he was frustrated by Vice President Kamala Harris giving an interview in his home state of West Virginia, saying he was not notified by the Biden administration beforehand.
“I saw [the interview], I couldn’t believe it. No one called me [about it],” Manchin, considered perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, told 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.”
Manchin was referring to a Senate impasse on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package, which includes expanded unemployment benefits and $1,400 stimulus payments.
This weekend, Harris spoke to WSAZ to push the administration’s $1.9 trillion package.
“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.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment. Politico reported that the White House declined to comment after Manchin made his remarks.
Manchin has been described as one of the most powerful figures in the 50-50 Senate as he has expressed some reluctance about some of the provision’s in the Biden administration’s bill—including the direct stimulus payments.
“We met with his economic team and they put out what they wanted,” Manchin also said. “We want to help everyone that needs help. But if a person’s making $250K or $300K, I don’t think they’re in much needs as a person making $40K or 50K. That’s all I said. We’re going to target.”
He’s part of a bipartisan group of senators who have pushed back against the proposal, although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that he believes there are enough votes to pass the bill. Earlier this month, Manchin called for targeted relief, suggesting stimulus checks should be sent out to a fewer number of people.
“I am on board by helping people that need help, people that really can’t make it, people who don’t have a job, they can’t put food on their table. I am in total support of helping them,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Jan. 10.