On Monday, Senator Joe Manchin (D. WV) responded to policy threats made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY), saying he won’t be dissuaded by the latter’s attempts to use him to sink a bipartisan bill that would strengthen economic competitiveness against China:

“I’m not walking away if anybody’s gonna threaten me or hold me hostage, if I can help the country. And if they want to play politics and play party politics, shame on ’em.”

WV Senator Joe Manchin via Flickr / Ryan Stanton https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Manchin also said it was “so wrong” of McConnell to issue threats to sink the USICA legislation, a bipartisan bill that would boost federal investment on computer chips and other emerging technologies.

“Mitch McConnell” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

McConnell then reiterated the threat, which is tied to Democratic efforts to resurrect their economic agenda:

“Party-line scheming is going to crowd that out. Our side cannot agree to frantically steamroll through bipartisan talks in order to meet an artificial timeline, so our Democrat colleagues can clear the decks to ram through a party-line tax hike.”

via Twitter

MSNBC noted that “if Mitch McConnell thought he could bully Joe Manchin with a hostage threat, at least for now, it appears he thought wrong:”

“At this point, it’s not at all clear how, or whether, this standoff will be resolved. That said, as we’ve discussed, the Democratic majority has a few options, one of which is simply passing the Senate’s version of USICA through the House, circumventing McConnell’s scheme. It’s also possible Democrats could try to add USICA provisions to their reconciliation package.”

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Christopher Powell