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White House: Biden considers Manchin a friend despite latest policy break

White House: Biden considers Manchin a friend despite latest policy break
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The White House on Tuesday downplayed any personal rift between President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (D-W.Va.) as some progressive Democrats ramped up their criticisms of the moderate senator after he voiced opposition to a sweeping voting rights bill and changes to the Senate filibuster.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) on Monday called Manchin "the new Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE," likening the Democrat to the Senate minority leader and accusing him of standing in the way of the For The People Act, which passed the House along party lines earlier this year. 

"I think we’re going to leave the name-calling to others," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden, Macron huddle on sidelines of G7 summit Biden to host Germany's Merkel at the White House in July Psaki 'likely will stay longer' than year as White House press secretary MORE said at a Tuesday briefing. "The president considers Sen. Manchin a friend. He disagrees with him on voting rights and the bill that the senator has expressed he won’t support."

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"The president will continue to advocate for the importance of that moving forward and the reasons why that it’s important and vital for our democracy, but we’ll continue to seek ways we can work with Senator Manchin even while we have areas of disagreement," she added.

Psaki noted Manchin is proud of his independent streak representing a red state as a Democrat. She shrugged off the suggestion that criticisms of the senator were hurtful to him.

Manchin, a key swing vote in the 50-50 split Senate, published an op-ed on Sunday laying out his opposition to the For the People Act. He cautioned that pursuing voting rights legislation along party lines would lead to further divisions in the country.

He added that he would not support ending or altering the legislative filibuster that requires 60 votes for a bill to move forward in the Senate, dimming hopes among progressives for pushing through their agenda in a closely divided chamber.

Manchin's op-ed left some Democrats questioning whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (D-N.Y.) will play hard ball or push the West Virginia senator harder to get him on board with the Biden agenda.