Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP would “certainly welcome” West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin “if he was so inclined” to flip parties.
Manchin has been bashed by his partisan colleagues for pledging to vote against President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
Speaking on Fox News’ “The Guy Benson Show” podcast, the Kentucky senator called Manchin’s no vote “the single greatest favor Joe Manchin could give this country,” amid rising inflation costs.
McConnell said he wasn’t sure how Manchin would vote but is pleased that his decision effectively ends any chance that the bill will get the 50 Democratic votes it requires in the evenly divided Senate.
“It was an exciting thing to hear,” he added. “It was a great shot in the arm for the country. I think it’s exactly what the country needed at this particular time.”
Manchin has cited decades of high inflation, the spiking national debt and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as his reasons for objecting to the approximately $2 trillion Build Back Better Act.
Manchin’s “no” vote has put him at odds with the Biden administration and leaders in his own party, including Chuck Schumer who said Democrats were “disappointed” but plan to move forward with a vote early next year, vowing “neither that delay, nor other recent pronouncements, will deter us from continuing to try to find a way forward.”
The senator also slammed Biden’s White House negotiators for not listening to his policy demands when his vote was needed.
”This is a no on this piece of legislation. I have tried everything I know to do,” Manchin said Sunday, confirming his position.
He was also more harshly attacked by progressive members of his party such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), with the latter calling Manchin’s vote “Bullsh*t.”
McConnell Monday said he was “shocked at the vitriol” Manchin received from members of his party, and extended an invitation to Manchin to join the GOP if he decided to switch parties as a result.
“Basically it seemed to me that they were calling Sen. Manchin a liar. I think that was not smart. 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,” McConnell said.
“He doesn’t fit well over there, but that is a decision ultimately that he has to make. We certainly welcome him to join us if he was so inclined.”
Manchin’s home state of West Virginia voted 69 percent in favor of Donald Trump in the 2020 election.