Sen. Joe Manchin III refused to say Sunday whether he would prefer his political party keep control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.
The West Virginia Democrat demurred when he was pressed on whether he wants his party to keep control of both chambers, where the Democratic Party holds the advantage in the evenly split 50-50 Senate and a four-vote margin in the House.
“I’m not making those choices or decisions on that. I’m going to work with whatever I have. I’ve always said that,” Mr. Manchin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the Democrats have great candidates that are running. They’re good people I’ve worked with. And I have a tremendous amount of respect and friendship with my Republican colleagues. So, I can work on either side very easily.”
The centrist often dissents from his party on hot-topic political issues, but he stunned Washington last week when he agreed to a tax and spending bill that includes significant energy, climate and health care components that Democrats will force through Congress in a party-line process.
It was previously reported that Mr. Manchin, who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, once considered leaving the party, but he has denied such reports.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican who has courted Mr. Manchin to leave the Democratic Party, has declined to say whether he would offer him the chairmanship if the GOP retakes the upper chamber and Mr. Manchin switches parties.
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“I think people are sick and tired of politics. I really do. I think they’re sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting and feuding and holding pieces of legislation hostage because they didn’t get what they wanted, or something or someone might get credit for something,” Mr. Manchin said. “Why don’t we start doing something for our country? Why don’t we just say, ‘This is good for America?’”