Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal
Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator'
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday touted his rating as the "most bipartisan senator," as the Democratic centrist continues to prove himself to be a pivotal player in President Biden's Washington.
According to CQ Roll Call's congressional rankings, Manchin crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on 38.5 percent of all votes taken in 2020.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) came in second, voting against her party 33.1 percent of the time, and former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who was voted out of his seat in 2020, ranked third, voting across the aisle 32.2 percent of the time.
"I have always prided myself on my efforts to reach across the aisle to work with my colleagues and do what is best for West Virginia and our nation. I am proud this ranking from CQ Roll Call reflects those efforts," Manchin said in a statement.
Manchin noted that 2020 was the third year in a row he was ranked the most bipartisan member of the Senate.
Manchin, one of the Democratic caucus's most conservative members, has emerged as a key vote in the Democrats' commitment to enact a "bold" agenda, as the party controls the White House and both chambers in Congress for the first time in a decade.
Manchin has not, however, always sided with his party, flexing his political muscle as a Democrat from a conservative state in a Senate that is evenly split.
He played a role in sinking Neera Tanden's nomination to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, announcing that he would vote against her.
Manchin also forced Biden's coronavirus proposal to stand in limbo for hours as he negotiated changes to the unemployment language. Additionally, he was one of several Democrats to oppose a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Now, Manchin may pose another hurdle for Biden and his colleagues on Capitol Hill, signaling that he is growing uncomfortable with the cost of Biden's agenda after the White House unveiled its infrastructure proposal.
"I truly believe that to be bipartisan, you must approach all legislation and all votes with an open mind, understanding that neither party has all the answers," Manchin said in a statement.
The West Virginia senator also reflected on the current partisan atmosphere in Washington, urging his colleagues to "give bipartisanship a chance for the sake of democracy."
"Unfortunately, each Congress we see less bipartisanship and more gridlock leaving Congress unable to meet the needs of the American people," Manchin said. "It is not too late to correct this for the American people and I urge my colleagues - both Democrat and Republican - to genuinely give bipartisanship a chance for the sake of the democracy we all cherish."
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was named the most bipartisan senator by the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University for the eighth year in a row.