Manchin on his moderate role: 'I didn't lobby for this position'

Manchin on his moderate role: 'I didn't lobby for this position'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions Overnight On The Money — Senate Democrats lay out their tax plans Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — FDA advisers endorse Pfizer vaccine for kids MORE (D-W.V.) on Sunday shot down suggestions that Senate Democrats are now forced to cater to him as he has become one of the most prominent moderate lawmakers in a 50-50 Senate.

While appearing on ABC’s “This Week” host Martha Raddatz asked Manchin if he believed Democrats must cater to a “Joe Manchin agenda” after he stalled on a vote on enhanced unemployment benefits included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed on Saturday.

“Not at all, no. I didn’t lobby for this position. I’ve never changed, Martha. I’m the same person I have been all my life and since I’ve been in the public offices, I’m the same. I’ve been voting the same way for the last 10 years,” Manchin said.

“I look for that moderate middle. The common sense that comes with the moderate middle is who I am. That’s what people expect. My state of West Virginia, they know me, they know how I’ve governed. I’ve tried to basically represent them in the best of my ability,” he continued.

Raddatz also asked Manchin on the lowered unemployment benefits that were included in the stimulus bill after he held up the vote for 10 hours, ultimately bringing additional weekly payments down from $400 to $300. The host questioned whether Manchin believed people are not in need of more money while in the midst of a pandemic economy.

"We have so many different ways that we’re helping the public with this piece of legislation," Manchin said. "It’s not that I don’t think — I think that basically what would have happened, going from $300 to $400, there’s going to be a glitch for people who are going to go without an employment checks for a while. $300 is kept systematically and kept a smooth transition through there."