(Bloomberg) — Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he has “no intentions” of switching political parties, but didn’t rule out the possibility in the future.
Manchin, who had significant leverage over President Joe Biden’s economic agenda in the evenly divided US Senate over the past two years, suggested on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that his decision could depend on how policies develop under a bipartisan infrastructure bill and the administration’s tax, climate and health-care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
Financial Post Top Stories
Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300
“Let’s see how that plays out … and I’ll let you know later what I decide to do,” Manchin said in the interview on Sunday. “But right now I have no intentions of changing anything except working for west Virginians, trying to give them more opportunities, better quality of life and basically making sure our country is energy secured.”
Speculation has focused on Manchin, who represents a solidly Republican state, after Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema left the Democratic Party this month to become an independent, while making it clear she won’t caucus with Republicans. Democrats will hold a de-facto 51-49 majority in the Senate as of January.
Manchin advocates speeding up the federal permitting process for energy projects, including completion of the Mountain Valley natural-gas pipeline running through West Virginia and Virginia. His proposal to attach the reform to the National Defense Authorization Act was rejected by the Senate last week.
Manchin’s insistence on scaling back Biden’s priorities and his opposition to ending Senate filibuster rules to enact other parts of the party’s agenda on voting rights, gun control and immigration, triggered intense criticism by liberal Democrats.