Senate GOP courts Manchin for party switch amid Biden bill fiasco

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Senate GOP courts Manchin for party switch amid Biden bill fiasco

At least four Senate Republicans have joined Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in letting Sen. Joe Manchin know that he has a home in the GOP after the West Virginia Democrat was lambasted by his party colleagues for saying he would not support the multi trillion-dollar Build Back Better Act.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told a reporter at KXAN in Austin Tuesday that he had sent a note to Manchin about switching parties.

“Joe, if they don’t want you, we do,” Cornyn said he wrote in the recruitment message.

The Texan added that Manchin hadn’t responded, but said that if the West Virginian did cast his lot with the Republicans it would be the “greatest Christmas gift.”

“I don’t know what he will decide to do,” Cornyn told the news station. “But I do know West Virginia has gotten increasingly red, and I think his vote on Build Back Better is reflective of what he’s hearing from his constituents in West Virginia. So yeah, we’d love to have him. That would change the majority.”

Cornyn’s fellow Texas Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz, said he thinks Manchin made the right decision by opposing what Cruz called Biden’s “Build Back Broke Bill.”

United States Senator John Cornyn (Republican of Texas)
Sen. John Cornyn isn’t certain if Sen. Joe Manchin plans on switching to the Republican party.
Pacific Coast News / Rod Lamkey – CNP

“It was reckless and irresponsible,” Cruz told Fox News Monday. “And you know what, the people of West Virginia don’t want it. Manchin did the right thing. He actually represented the men and women of his state.”

Cruz also decried the “vicious” way many Democrats reacted to Manchin’s no vote.

“A lot of folks ask, ‘Well, gosh, is Manchin going to become a Republican?’ I hope he does. I’ve asked him to. I think every Republican senator has made that case a dozen times to Joe,” Cruz said. “The best thing that could happen is they could drive him over to the Republican Party and we would welcome him.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Several Democrat congress members blasted Sen. Joe Manchin after announcing he would not vote for President Joe Biden’s $2.1 trillion spending bill.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) also said he would greet Manchin with open arms.

“We’re in a dead set 50-50 Senate. The only reason they have control is because they control the White House. And of course, we’d be happy to have Joe Manchin,” Hagerty told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Tuesday.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Fox News’ “The Story” Tuesday afternoon that Manchin had been “candid and upfront” about his issues with the spending legislation and was being attacked for it by far-left lawmakers.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz claims “the people of West Virginia” don’t favor President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill.
Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS

“I think it’s pretty rich when Bernie Sanders, who wasn’t even a Democrat at all until six years ago, is criticizing Joe Manchin for not being a good Democrat,” Cotton said, “so maybe it is time for Sen. Manchin to come over, and we’d welcome him with open arms if he did.”

Manchin stunned his Democratic colleagues when he went on “Fox News Sunday” to say he was a “no” vote on President Biden’s $2 trillion social spending plan because of its effects on inflation and the $29 trillion national debt.

McConnell called Manchin’s declaration “the single greatest favor Joe Manchin could give this country” as the country deals with the highest rate of inflation in 39 years.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.
Sen. Bill Hagerty says Sen. Joe Manchin joining the Republicans would break the “dead set 50-50 Senate.”
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The Kentucky Republican also noted the harsh comments toward Manchin from House progressives like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who called Manchin’s reasoning “bulls—.”

“Basically it seemed to me that they were calling Sen. Manchin a liar. I think that was not smart,” McConnell said. “This is a 50/50 Senate. It’s going to be 50/50 for another year, and believe me, this is not how I would handle a disappointing vote like that.”

“He doesn’t fit well over there, but that is a decision ultimately that he has to make,” the Senate Republican leader added. “We certainly welcome him to join us if he was so inclined.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Sen. Tom Cotton promises Sen. Joe Manchin would be welcomed “with open arms,” if he joined the Republican party.
Getty Images

In an interview Monday with a West Virginia radio station, Manchin said he still considers himself a Democrat.

“I would like to hope that there are still Democrats that feel like I do. I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” he said. “Now, if there’s no Democrats like that, then they’ll have to push me wherever they want me.”

A source close to Manchin told The Post they have “never heard him discuss it and it’s highly unlikely” that he would switch parties.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argues Sen. Joe Manchin “doesn’t fit well” with the Democrats.
Rod Lamkey – CNP/Sipa USA

The source noted that switching parties and giving the GOP the Senate majority would require Manchin to give up his position as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“What’s the advantage?” the source asked. “He’s now the 51st vote but he’s going to vote against them the majority of the time anyway, and he loses his committee chairmanship, and then what? Logistically, it doesn’t make sense.”

If Manchin does take the plunge, he’d be the first sitting senator to switch parties since Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who made the jump from the GOP to the Democrats in 2009.

Manchin, a former West Virginia governor, is the only Democrat among the Mountain State’s congressional delegation. Besides playing a crucial role in brokering the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan with Congress and the White House, analysis by FiveThirtyEight showed that Manchin voted 97 percent of the time in line with Biden’s policies.

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