'Kingmaker' Manchin flexes his muscles as key swing vote in Senate
With 50-50 split, the West Virginia Democrat's votes on minimum wage, controversial nomination are crucial for Biden.
By Joseph Curl
Updated: February 22, 2021 - 9:18am
Here's the current power structure in Washington:
1. President Joe Biden
2. Vice President Kamala Harris
3. Sen. Joe Manchin
Manchin â€” considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate â€” hails from West Virginia, where then-President Trump won in 2020 by a landslide, 68.6% to 29.7%. That means with every Senate vote, Manchin will be torn between his party and his constituents â€” and voters usually win those battles.
His own party is already putting the senator in a tough position. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are both being pulled left by progressive members, and the trend looks to continue for the foreseeable future.
Bloomberg News pegged the scene last month with a story headlined "Senator Joe Manchin Didn't Ask to Be a Kingmaker â€” But He Is One."
Manchin, for his part, said early in the new Senate session that he plans to work with Republicans.