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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin slammed Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of her meeting with a group of Senate Republicans Monday on passing bipartisan COVID-19 relief.
Manchin (D-WV) denounced Harris for appearing on local TV stations in West Virginia and Arizona last week in what was effectively a targeted pressure campaign on senators from those states to support the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package.
Speaking to local station WSAZ on Friday, the same outlet where Harris urged West Virginia’s lawmakers to back their coronavirus legislation, Manchin argued that the vice president’s interview went against Biden’s message of unity.
“I saw [the interview], I couldn’t believe it. No one called me. We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, I think we need to,” the self-proclaimed conservative Democrat said.
“We need to work together. That’s not a way of working together,” he continued.
Speaking to the same network on Thursday, Harris touted the plan she and President Biden were pushing for in Congress, saying, “In West Virginia, one in seven families is describing their household as being hungry, one in six can’t pay their rent, and one in four small businesses are closing permanently or have already closed, so it’s a big issue in West Virginia and across the country.”
“And that’s why the president and I are offering the American Rescue Plan.”
Kamala Harris was accused of pressuring senators to support Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Manchin, one of the most influential senators as a moderate in a tightly divided body, expressed his displeasure privately to senior White House officials about the appearance late last week, according to Politico.
Manchin told WSAZ in response to Harris’ interview claims that “We met with [Biden’s] economic team and they put out what they wanted.
“We want to help everyone that needs help. But if a person’s making $250K or $300K, I don’t think they’re in much needs as a person making $40K or 50K. That’s all I said. We’re going to target.”
Biden agrees to meet with GOP senators to discuss COVID-19 relief
President Joe Biden has agreed to meet with a group…
His comments, which dominated the weekend headlines, came ahead of a meeting between Biden and a group of 10 Republican senators who share his penchant for bipartisanship.
The group, led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), will meet with the president early Monday evening to present their pared-down $600 billion relief plan.
While Manchin will not be at the meeting, which will only include Republicans, his Mountain State colleague Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) will be.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on Harris’ interviews last week.