Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday grilled Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, on his emergence as a key swing vote in the Senate, asking if Manchin was enjoying his “position of power a little too much.”
“Do you like being the most powerful member of Congress, the swing vote in a 50/50 Senate? Do you like that, sir?” Wallace asked on “Fox News Sunday.”
“No, I do not and I did not lobby for this, did not seek it out,” Manchin said. “The bottom line is I am who I am and I have always been that person.”
Wallace noted that Manchin’s support is pivotal for a number of Democratic initiatives, including ending the Senate filibuster, expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court and increasing the minimum wage to $15.
On Friday, Manchin stalled the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate, forcing Democrats to tweak the package’s unemployment provisions before it passed on party lines on Saturday.
“You are on four Sunday shows today, and the question I have is, are you enjoying your position of power maybe a little too much?” Wallace asked.
“I sure hope not,” Manchin said. “Oh, my goodness. That would be horrible. That’s not, no. I want to make sure people understand. I am in that common-sense middle. That’s who I am.”
“I’m not taking advantage of any moment at all,” he added.
Manchin went on to say that he opposes abolishing the filibuster, but is open to reforming it.
“I’m supporting the filibuster,” he said. “I’m going to continue to support the filibuster. It think it defines who we are as a Senate. I’ll make it harder to get rid of it but it should be painful if you want to use it.”
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