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On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Fox News’ Bret Baier he plans to effectively kill President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Manchin’s comments, again, sparked speculation about his future as a Democrat.
“If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it … this is a no.”@Sen_JoeManchin announced on Fox News Sunday that he will not vote for the Build Back Better bill.
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) December 19, 2021
However, Axios reports that Manchin is more likely to switch to an independent and caucus with the Democrats than become a Republican.
In a 50-50 Senate, Manchin has become the most influential member because he often shorts Democrats the votes to pass legislation. As a result, Manchin has become a frequent target of The Squad, AOC’s progressive wing of Congress.
“Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bullshit,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said on Sunday.
Manchin is the Senator of a bright red state. He knows that voting for Build Back Better would hurt his re-election odds. So Manchin is more of a strategic politician than he is an “asshole,” as the media claims.
That said, little would change should Manchin switch to an independent. For context, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an “independent” who caucuses with Democrats.
Finally, in the scenario that the Republicans retake the Senate in 2022, as most experts project, Manchin would lose his de-facto veto power over the Democrat agenda, anyway.