- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sen. Joe Manchin on Wednesday said he supports a 60-vote threshold for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, but suggested he wouldn’t automatically join his fellow Democrats in filibustering the nomination.

“I’ve been opposed to the nuclear option. I thought Harry Reid was absolutely dead wrong when he did it, and I voted against that,” Mr. Manchin said, referring to a 2013 rules change muscled through by Mr. Reid that eliminated the 60-vote filibuster threshold for certain executive and judicial nominees.

“With that being said, I think it should be a bipartisan vote. I think it should be 60 votes for our Supreme Court,” the West Virginia Democrat said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Let’s give the man a chance. Talk to him. My goodness, don’t shut it down before we even get started.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he said.

Mr. Manchin had said he was “embarrassed” by how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the Republicans in blocking the process on Judge Merrick Garland, who President Obama nominated last March to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Republicans currently hold an effective 52-48 majority in the U.S. Senate, and liberal groups are already pressuring Democrats to try to muster the 41 votes needed to sustain a filibuster.

But Mr. Manchin said he’s not concerned about the pressure.

“I’m impervious to it because my consolation is if I get defeated, I get to go home,” said Mr. Manchin, who is up for re-election in 2018.

“I’m fine with that. I can live with that. That’s not what I was sent here to do,” he said.

“I didn’t come here to say, ‘Oh my goodness, if I do this I might not get re-elected.’ I didn’t come here to be here for life,” Mr. Manchin said. “I came here to do the best I can, and I’m going to make a decision.”

“If I can go home … if I can explain it and defend it, I can vote for it,” he said.

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