Baltimore Sun

Manchin mum on Dem majorities in midterms, Biden in ’24

- By Hope Yen

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the Democrats’ most conservati­ve and contrarian members, declined Sunday to endorse Joe Biden if the president seeks a second term in 2024 and refused to say whether he wants Democrats to retain control of Congress after the November elections.

In a round of appearance­s on five news shows, the

West Virginia senator also expressed hope that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., will back a Democratic package of climate, health care and tax initiative­s that he negotiated. She joined Manchin last year in forcing cuts and changes in larger versions of the plan, and support from every Democrat in the 50-50 Senate — plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreakin­g vote — is needed to overcome anticipate­d unanimous Republican opposition in votes expected this week.

Sinema has declined to tell reporters her stance.

“I would like to think she would be favorable toward it,” he said.

But beyond that, Manchin demurred when pressed about supporting his party or its nominee for president in upcoming elections.

“I’m not getting into 2022 or 2024,” he said, adding that “whoever is my president, that’s my president.”

Manchin said control of Congress will be determined by the choices of voters in individual states, rather than his own preference­s. People “are sick and tired of politics,” he said, and want their representa­tives in Washington to put country over party.

The senator faces reelection in 2024 in a state where Donald Trump prevailed in every county in the past two presidenti­al races, winning more than two-thirds of West Virginia’s voters. But in distancing himself from fellow Democrats, Manchin also tried to decry the rise of partisansh­ip and suggested America’s path forward will need to move beyond traditiona­l party-line politics.

His national TV interviews culminated a high-profile week in which his compromise with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., revived a package of White House priorities on climate, health care, taxes and deficit reduction. Manchin had torpedoed a grander plan last December.

 ?? J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP ?? Sen. Joe Manchin seeks votes on a package he negotiated.
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP Sen. Joe Manchin seeks votes on a package he negotiated.

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