Munchkin clarifies he doesn't want Democrats to go to infrastructure alone

White House and Senate Republicans are continuing talks, but Democrats have warned they may have to pass legislation on their own.


Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.A., is making it clear that he doesn't want Democrats to advance key items on President Joe Biden's agenda without Republican votes.

Munchkin spoke with NBC News on Thursday about talks between White House and Senate Republicans over an infrastructure package and whether he is prepared to go it alone with members of his own party if talks fail.

Biden stuck between Munchkin and GOP in infrastructure deal

"I don't think it's going to break. I really don't," Munchkin said after an event with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Asked if he was prepared to pass a budget reconciliation bill that could allow Democrats to push for an infrastructure measure without GOP support, Manchin said, "No, I don't think so. You should. I really don't. ... Right now, basically we need to be bipartisan."

Manchin said he would not succumb to pressure from progressive Democrats who want to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance the law.

"I'm not going to get into a situation where I see different people wanting different things," he said. "I haven't changed. I'm not changing."

Manchin also said that any voting rights law considered by the Senate must be bipartisan in order to gain its vote, adding that the single-party push for Democratic-sponsored legislation is a "disaster waiting to happen." "

House Democrats passed a sweeping voting rights and election overhaul bill on Republican opposition in March, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, promised to vote on the bill after a committee process.

Munchkin also said he thinks Biden's comments last week that he was called out to vote with Republicans versus Democrats - which are factually incorrect - were taken out of context. He said he later spoke to the White House about the president's remarks.

On Wednesday, Biden proposed to Senate Republicans to pay for an infrastructure package that would include several tax hikes, but would not reverse anything in a 2017 tax cut bill signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. Talks continue between White House and Senate Republicans, though Democrats have warned they may have to pass legislation on their own in a partisan process if no agreement is reached soon.