On Sunday, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin appeared to change his position on whether or not Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. should receive statehood.
Manchin has previously been regarded as in opposition to such a move.
Some consider allowing the two bodies to become states as a power grab by Democrats that would give their party four additional U.S. Senators.
Manchin had opposed statehood in the past but seemed to change his mind during a CNN interview.
When host Jake Tapper asked the senator if he supported statehood for Washington, D.C., Manchin replied “I don’t know enough about that yet. I want to see the pros and cons. So, I’m waiting to see all the facts. I’m open up to see everything.”
On Puerto Rico, Manchin responded to Tapper by saying, “Same thing. I need more facts on that.”
When Manchin was pressed on these questions in November after the general election – but well before the special runoff election in Georgia on January 5th that helped deliver the Senate to Democrats – he was more forceful is saying that neither D.C. or Puerto Rico should get statehood.
On November 10th, Manchin said to CNN about potentially giving Washington, D.C. statehood, “The D.C. statehood, I don’t see the need for the D.C. statehood with the type of services that we’re getting in D.C. right now.”
Manchin continued, “We have representation. They say no vote, you know, without representation. They have no voice, but they do. I’d have to hear more that, but right now I’m not convinced that’s the way to go.”
When Manchin was asked about potential Puerto Rican statehood, the senator said, “Still not convinced that’s the way to go. And I would say that with that I’m absolutely agreeing to sit down and listen to the debate.”
“I don’t believe that is the direction we should be going right now,” he added.
With a 50-50 U.S. Senate and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, moderate Democrat Manchin will likely have an elevated role on close votes.
That became quickly apparent when Manchin signaled his opposition to a further round of $2,000 checks for COVID relief.
When Republican activists were warning voters that a Democratically-controlled Senate could lead to problematic policies not only like D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood, but also court packing, Manchin was quick to assure voters this was not the case with him.
Manchin told Fox News before the Georgia special election in early January, “I commit to you tonight and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching, I want to lay those fears, I want to rest those fears for you right now, because, when they talk about whether it be packing the courts or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that.”
Manchin went further in trying to reassure voters he did not agree with the far left’s agenda.
“I will not vote to pack the courts,” Manchin said. “I think — and I will not vote to end the filibuster.”
Speaking to Fox News host Bret Baier at the time, Manchin said, “Bret, this system, the Senate, this so unique body in the world, it was made to work together in a bipartisan way.”
“And once you start breaking down those barriers, then you lose every reason that we are the institution that we are, the most deliberative body,” Manchin added.
“So, I want to lay those fears to rest, that that won’t happen, because I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end that filibuster or to basically stack the court,” Manchin promised.
But Manchin also said he would not be in favor of making Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico states.
Will he go all the way in changing his mind and will Democrats begin to push hard this without Republicans to stop them?
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