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Manchin won't say whether he supports $2K checks, says untargeted relief 'not who we are'

Manchin won't say whether he supports $2K checks, says untargeted relief 'not who we are'
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThe imminent crises facing Joe Biden Bipartisanship has become a partisan weapon New York, New Jersey, California face long odds in scrapping SALT  MORE (W.V.) dodged a question from CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperFauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall Clyburn says he's willing to compromise on qualified immunity in policing bill GOP divided over expected Cheney ouster MORE on Sunday over whether he would support a second round of stimulus checks for Americans totaling $2,000, but indicated his opposition to providing relief to Americans already receiving aid.

The West Virginia senator, who is expected to be one of the Senate's most pivotal swing votes in the upcoming Congress, was asked by Tapper whether he would support a number of Democratic legislative priorities that could seemingly be passable given the party's newfound control over the chamber.

“That’s not a yes or no question," Manchin said during the interview.

"[S]ending checks to people who already have a check ... that’s not who we are," he continued. "We have done an awful lot of that.”

He was subsequently quizzed on other potential legislation, such as bills recognizing Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico as states and an assault weapons ban. The senator countered that he wanted to see information about the benefits and disadvantages of statehood for the two territories, while indicating opposition to taking "people's guns away" while at the same time suggesting that some weapons should not be on the market.

"No, we're not going to take people's guns away but there is things that we should not have in people's hands," Manchin told Tapper.

His comments reiterate his opposition to a new round of congressionally-approved stimulus checks for Americans, a priority President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE and congressional Democrats have said they will pursue given the failure of efforts to pass a measure that would have raised a previous round of stimulus checks up from $600 to $2,000.

“Absolutely not. No,” he told The Washington Post in an interview published Friday when asked if a new round of COVID-19 relief checks was among his priorities. “Getting people vaccinated, that’s job No. 1.”

“How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check,” Manchin said.