Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Tuesday afternoon dismissed the brouhaha over Vice President Kamala Harris’ interview on local West Virginia radio station WSAZ in which she touted President Joe Biden’s sweeping COVID-19 relief package without Manchin’s knowledge.
“There’s no apologies needed,” Manchin told reporters when asked if the White House had apologized, according to a press pool report. “I mean we’re all in this, we understand that.”
“It was a mistake. They made a mistake,” he added. “And we understand. We move on. You can’t dwell on those things.”
Later on Tuesday, the conservative Democrat, who is skittish over the notion of working without Republicans, announced that he would vote in favor of passing Biden’s $1.9 trillion package through budget reconciliation, giving Senate Democrats the pivotal vote to pass the legislation with their razor-thin Democratic majority without needing GOP votes.
“I will vote to move forward with the budget process because we must address the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis,” Manchin said in a statement.
On Monday, Manchin expressed frustration with Harris’ interview during an interview of his own on WSAZ, saying the White House had not informed him of the vice president’s appearance in advance and that her remarks had strayed from finding a “bipartisan pathway” to passing relief legislation for the pandemic.
“That’s not a way of working together, what was done,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said later on Monday that the Biden team was “in touch” with Manchin, whose vote is pivotal to getting the President’s proposal passed with the Senate’s razor-thin Democratic majority.