The PJ Tatler

Is Reid's Fall Making Life Easier in the Senate for Manchin?

Though Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has complained about the frustration of partisanship in Congress, he’s decided to stay right where he is in 2018 instead of plotting a return to the governor’s mansion.

First he’ll have to get through his 2016 re-election bid. But maybe his decision has something to do with the new leadership in the upper chamber.

“Harry’s a good man, OK. His leadership and the things he thought would work did not. So with that, you just move on,” Manchin told MSNBC this morning.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is retiring at the end of the 114th Congress and wants the leadership reins to go to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The senator released a statement Sunday saying that “it has been a harder transition than I had expected” from governor to senator, “but I believe that, after five years, we are beginning to make a difference.”

“We are simply bringing a greater sense of bipartisanship and commitment to working together for the good of the American people. It is because of that optimism that I have decided to continue serving the people of West Virginia in the United States Senate. My main purpose in the Senate, has, and always will be, to represent the great people of West Virginia to the best of my ability, and I have always said that when my country succeeds, my state succeeds. I feel that I can have the greatest impact on West Virginia and America by staying in Washington,” Manchin said. “This place may not be working now, but I’m not going to stop fighting to make it work.”

Manchin told MSNBC he’s “seen some glimmers of hope” in the upper chamber.

“I think we put our country before we put our political party or our politics,” he said.

A key focus of the senator right now is prescription drug abuse.

“This drug culture we have, it is killing America and it’s definitely a number-one killer in West Virginia. That’s the thing I can do, maybe make a difference and change some things and save some peoples’ lives,” Manchin said. “…The bottom line is you don’t hear anybody that’s running for president talking about the number-one killer in America. And I don’t know why. And we keep bringing more powerful drugs on. Why does the FDA keep approving it? I’ve got two bills right now to try to stop that and not — and just go ahead and pass things through that are killers.”

In the GovTrack rating of senators’ votes, Manchin has drifted more into red territory than any other Democrat.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.48.23 AM