OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has been a thorn in the side of his party for a long time and now he is not committing to wanting the Democrats to win the midterms.
“Do you hope Democrats keep control of the House and Senate?” host Chuck Todd said to him on “Meet The Press” on Sunday.
“I think people are sick and tired of politics, Chuck,” the senator said. “I really do. I think they’re sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting and feuding and holding pieces of legislation hostage because they didn’t get what they wanted, or something or someone might get credit for something. Why don’t we start doing something for our country? Why don’t we just say, ‘This is good for America?’ I’ve always said the best politics is good government. Do something good, Chuck. But I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen.
But the host did not ask him to make a prediction, he asked him what he wanted.
“I’m not asking you to predict,” the host said. “What result do you want? Do you want the Democrats to keep control of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives?”
The senator again avoided saying that he supported the Democrats.
“You know, I’m not making those choices or decisions on that,” the senator said. “I’m going to work with whatever I have. I’ve always said that. I think the Democrats have great candidates that are running. They’re good people I’ve worked with. And I have a tremendous amount of respect and friendship with my Republican colleagues. So I can work on either side very easily.”
But the host gave one more attempt to get an answer.
“You don’t care about the outcome this year of the election?” the host said.
“Whatever the voters choose,” the senator said. “I can’t decide what’s going to happen in Kansas or California or Texas. I really can’t. I’ve always taken the approach whoever you send me, that’s your representative and I respect them. And I respect the state for the people they send, and I give it my best to work with them, to do the best for my country. I don’t play the politics that way. I don’t like it that way. That’s not who I am.”
He would also not commit to supporting President Joe Biden in 2024 when he appeared on “This Week” on ABC on Sunday.
“If Biden is renominated by your party will you support him?” host Jonathan Karl said.
“Everybody’s worried about the elections, that’s the problem,” the senator said.
“This is a simple question,” the host said.
“No,” the senator said. “I’m not getting involved in that.”
“You can’t even rule out voting for a Republican for president,” the host hit back.
“I’m not getting into the 2024 election,” the senator said. “That’s all.”
Earlier this month, Manchin hit the brakes on a budget reconciliation bill being negotiated by Senate Majority Leader and New York Sen. Charles Schumer, warning that it “needs to be scrubbed much better” as inflation reached 9.1 percent.
“We know what we can pass is basically the drug pricing, OK? — on Medicare,” he said when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday. “Is there any more we can do? I don’t know but I am very, very cautious, The Boston Herald reported.
“And I’m going to make sure that I have every input on scrubbing everything humanly possible that could be considered inflammatory,” the senator said.
The senator said that “deficit reduction is going to be 50 percent” of the revenue that would be gained from prescription drug savings and reforms to taxes.
He spoke about the high inflation numbers in June and said that it means negotiations have to be slowed and negotiators have to be cautious.
“Basically, take your time and make sure we do it and do it right. We can’t afford mistakes in the highest inflation we’ve seen in the last 40 years,” he said.
Democrats want the legislation passed before the August recess but Manchin sees September 30 as the goal.
He did not rule out a provision that would continue to subsidize health insurance plans and said that it would depend on how it is paid for.
“It depends on if we can look at things and find a pathway forward that is not inflammatory,” the senator said.
But he wants to keep the spending in the bill moderate as to not continue to damage the economy.
“Anything that can be inflationary right now with 9.1 percent should be a red herring because we cannot inflame this inflationary position we have right now with the hardship it has on everybody in the country, especially in my state,” he said.