Sen. Joe Manchin open to party-line vote on future payments with voting rights laws now in focus

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) removes his masks to talk as bipartisan members of the Senate and Home collect to announce a framework for recent coronavirus illness (COVID-19) aid laws at a information convention on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 1, 2020.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Sen. Joe Manchin, the reasonable Democrat from West Virginia, mentioned he would contemplate passing laws by a party-line vote once more however solely in a scenario the place Democrats have tried to have interaction Republicans.

Manchin’s feedback come because the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers look towards different prime priorities, together with voting rights laws, after they handed a $1.9 trillion Covid aid invoice with none Republican help within the evenly divided Senate this weekend.

The huge stimulus bundle was capable of survive the Senate because of a course of generally known as reconciliation, which permits the chamber to approve a invoice with a easy majority if it impacts the federal price range. Sometimes, a invoice wants 60 votes earlier than shifting to the Senate ground below a rule known as the filibuster.

The filibuster will make it troublesome for voting rights laws, handed by the Home final week, to win approval within the Senate. Democrats would wish the help of 10 Republicans below common course of.

When requested if he would help utilizing reconciliation, Manchin mentioned provided that the common course of requiring 60 votes fails.

“I am not going to alter my thoughts on the filibuster,” Manchin instructed NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I’ll change my thoughts if we have to go to a reconciliation to the place we now have to get one thing completed, as soon as I do know they’ve course of into it.”

“However I am not going to go there till my Republican pals have the flexibility to have their say additionally,” he mentioned. “And I am hoping they’ll become involved to the purpose the place we now have 10 of them that may work with 50 of us.”

Manchin performed an instrumental, but at occasions unsure, position within the passage of the most recent Covid aid invoice. Democrats couldn’t afford to lose a single vote and needed to make concessions to maintain him on board.

Manchin defended the modifications, which embody an additional $300 per week in unemployment advantages moderately than $400 per week proposed by the Home of Representatives. Nevertheless, these advantages run by Sept. 6. moderately than Aug. 29 and recipients won’t should pay taxes on the primary $10,200.

“Mainly what would have occurred, going from $300 to $400, there’s going to be a glitch with people who find themselves going to go with out unemployment checks for some time,” Manchin mentioned on an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” The $300 per week is systematic and can maintain a clean transition, Manchin mentioned.

Manchin additionally defended the exclusion of a plan to boost the federal minimal wage to $15 per hour, up from $7.25. He was certainly one of eight Democratic senators to vote towards an modification put ahead by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., calling for that change.

“There’s not one senator out of 100 who would not wish to increase the minimal wage,” Manchin mentioned.  “$7.25 is sinfully low. We should increase it.”

As a substitute, Manchin desires to boost the federal minimal wage to $11 per hour and index that pay price to inflation.

White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki has mentioned President Joe Biden will proceed to push for a $15 per hour federal minimal wage.

Manchin mentioned he’s optimistic Washington leaders can work collectively to return to a compromise and put a change by.

“We’ll work this out and transfer ahead, the way in which it must be,” he mentioned.

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