Joe Manchin Denies Being 'Roadblock' to Biden Agenda, Won't Be Part of 'Blowing Up' Senate

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) denied accusations that he's been a "roadblock" to President Joe Biden's policy agenda on Sunday, and said he would not participate in "blowing up the Senate" by pushing legislation without seeking bipartisanship support.

Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, Manchin was asked to respond to allegations from fellow Democrats that he has acted as a "main roadblock to getting goals accomplished," while Democrats hold party majority in both chambers of Congress.

"I'm not a roadblock at all," Manchin said in response. "The best politics is good government. I can't believe that people believe that, if you just do it 'my way,' that will give us the momentum to get through the next election," he said.

"We won't give this system the chance to work. I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours, or basically this democracy of ours, or the Republic that we have," he added.

"If we have a 51-vote threshold in the Senate, the same as the House... the House wasn't designed to be partisan. The House was designed to be hot as a firecracker. We were designed to cool it off," he continued. "Why can't we try to make this work? If you have violent swings every time you have a party change, then we will have no consistency whatsoever."

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) denied allegations Sunday that he has been a "roadblock" to President Joe Biden's policy agenda. Here, Manchin speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. OLIVER CONTRERAS/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Manchin's comments come as Democratic lawmakers are attempting to pass significant policy changes while maintaining control of both the House of Representatives and Senate. To do so, lawmakers have proposed abolishing the Senate filibuster, or pushing some legislation through via budget resolution, in order to bypass Republican votes.

Last month, Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package without any Republican support.

But Manchin, who is seen as a more conservative Democrat, has been adamant about his refusal to seek a partisan-only route. Earlier this month, the West Virginia lawmaker published an op-ed firmly defending the filibuster and calling for a new era of bipartisanship.

"We will not solve our nation's problems in one Congress if we seek only partisan solutions. Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs," Manchin wrote in The Washington Post on April 7.

"Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues," he added. "Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats."

Manchin has also come under fire from fellow Democrats for his opposition to a $15 national minimum wage, speaking against raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, and for making Democratic efforts to pass legislation expanding gun-background checks more difficult.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has since praised Manchin for his efforts to "preserve" the Senate.

"I really greatly admire Senator Manchin," McConnell told ABC affiliate WCHS earlier this month. "Senator Manchin almost single-handedly is preserving the Senate as we have always known it, which is a body that requires a supermajority to do most things."

On Sunday, Manchin said he believes Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan needs to be "more targeted," signaling a further headache for progressive lawmakers in passing the new legislation.

Newsweek contacted Manchin for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.