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Manchin offers little comfort to frustrated Democrats | CNN Politics

June 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 17.9%. 2 min read.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 28: Senator Joe Manchin speaks with journalists after the GOP blocked the January 6 commission through a procedural measure at the U.S. Capitol on May 28, 2021 in Washington, District of Columbia. Manchin was frustrated that the bill was blocked. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The riddle of Joe Manchin is going to drive his fellow Democrats to distraction. The senator from West Virginia, who sits at the fulcrum of Washington's balance of power, signaled in a new CNN exclusive interview that he's nowhere near ready -- yet -- to loosen a grip that is stalling President Joe Biden's ambitious agenda.

The senator from West Virginia, who sits at the fulcrum of Washington’s balance of power, signaled in a new CNN exclusive interview that he’s nowhere near ready – yet – to loosen a grip that is stalling President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda.

Manchin is the most prominent moderate Democrat who could block future efforts to ram infrastructure spending, voting rights reform, climate change legislation – and anything else – through a 50-50 Senate without Republican votes.

In the interview with CNN’s Manu Raju, Manchin indicated he’s in no mood to join his Democratic colleagues to pass a partisan infrastructure bill if talks between the President and Republicans break down.

And he’s not ready to ditch Senate filibuster rules – the only path, liberals say, to rolling back a wave of restrictive voting laws in states that could cost them coming elections.

Yet Manchin, as he faces a storm of criticism from liberal Democrats, is giving no overt sign that he’s looking for special spending to buy his vote.

Manchin is also the only Democrat holding statewide office in West Virginia, so it’s quite possible that by dragging his heels on backing a sweeping liberal agenda, he’s doing exactly what his voters want.

In his one-on-one with CNN, Manchin signaled that he wants more time for talks between the White House and Republicans on a bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Therefore, Manchin is under pressure from Democrats to agree to abolish or to amend the 60-vote filibuster rule – assuming that he, Arizona’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and some other Democrats with reservations about the bill can be coaxed on board.

But Manchin said in the interview Thursday that Democrats who want to abolish the filibuster should be careful what they wish for.

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