Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared to change his tune on Sunday about being open to making Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., new U.S. states, which many see as a power grab by Democrats given the likelihood that the move would give the Democrat Party four additional U.S. Senators.
Manchin made the remarks on Sunday during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked about what elements of the Democrats’ agenda he is open to supporting.
When asked by Tapper if he supported statehood for Washington, D.C., Manchin responded: “I don’t know enough about that yet. I want to see the pros and cons. So, I’m waiting to see all the facts. I’m open up to see everything.”
When asked about Puerto Rico, Manchin responded, “Same thing. I need more facts on that.”
Manchin’s remarks appear to signal a shift in being more open to the idea after he was pressed on the matter following the news in early in November that there would need to be two runoff elections in the Georgia Senate races because no candidates met the required 50% threshold to declare victory.
Manchin was asked the same questions by CNN during an interview on November 10.
When CNN asked Manchin about making Washington, D.C., a state, Manchin responded, “The D.C. statehood, I don’t see the need for the D.C. statehood with the type of services that we’re getting in D.C. right now. We have representation. They say no vote, you know, without representation. They have no voice, but they do. I’d have to hear more that, but right now I’m not convinced that’s the way to go.”
When asked about making Puerto Rico a state, Manchin responded, “Still not convinced that’s the way to go. And I would say that with that I’m absolutely agreeing to sit down and listen to the debate. I don’t believe that is the direction we should be going right now.”
Manchin is expected to be one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate after Democrats won both seats in the Georgia runoff races last week, which no effectively ties up which party controls the Senate. However, in a tie, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote, meaning that Democrats effectively have a majority in the Senate.
Before the Senate runoff races happened, Manchin told Fox News, “I commit to you tonight and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching, I want to lay those fears, I want to rest those fears for you right now, because, when they talk about whether it be packing the courts or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that.”
“I will not vote to pack the courts. I think — and I will not vote to end the filibuster. Bret, this system, the Senate, this so unique body in the world, it was made to work together in a bipartisan way. And once you start breaking down those barriers, then you lose every reason that we are the institution that we are, the most deliberative body,” Manchin continued. “So, I want to lay those fears to rest, that that won’t happen, because I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end that filibuster or to basically stack the court. And then all the other things you’re hearing about, Bret, also, is — defund the police. I don’t know of any of the Democrats in the caucus that are for defunding the police. We are not for that whatsoever. And when they talk about basically Medicare for All, we can’t even pay for Medicare for some. It doesn’t make any sense at all. We have got to fix the Affordable Care Act we have. And I think our Republican — moderate Republicans will work with us to now repair what needs to be repaired.”