President Biden weighed in Thursday on Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision not to run for reelection, touting the various legislation that passed with the help of the West Virginia Democrat despite an at times prickly relationship.
“For more than forty years — as a state legislator, a Secretary of State, a Governor, and a Senator — Joe Manchin has dedicated himself to serving the people of his beloved West Virginia,” Biden said in a statement. “During my time as Vice President and now as President, Joe and I have worked together to get things done for hardworking families.”
“Joe, Gayle, and the entire Manchin family should feel proud of the Senator’s service to West Virginia and to our country,” Biden added. “I look forward to continuing our work together to get things done for the American people.”
Biden cited the bipartisan infrastructure law, gun safety legislation and the PACT Act, which provided additional benefits to the nation’s veterans, as examples of bipartisan victories in recent years that Manchin was a part of.
The president also highlighted Manchin’s vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, as well as the senator’s vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in 2022 with only Democratic votes in the House and Senate and has at times been a source of tension between Manchin and the White House.
Manchin, who is 76, announced Thursday he won’t seek another term in the Senate in 2024. The decision almost certainly means Republicans will win the Senate seat in the deep red state.
Manchin has not explicitly ruled out the prospect of an independent presidential bid, and he said in his statement Thursday that he plans to travel the country and “see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.”
The Biden White House had an up-and-down relationship with Manchin, who was a critical vote to some of the administration’s key proposals but opposed others.
Manchin ultimately backed the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping health and climate law that contained many of Biden’s legislative priorities, but only after the administration shaved billions of dollars off the size of the bill. The senator has since occasionally been critical of how the White House is implementing the law.
Manchin also rebuffed calls from Biden to alter the filibuster rule in the Senate for the purpose of passing voting rights legislation.
The White House has repeatedly downplayed tensions with Manchin, saying the two sides have a “respectful” relationship.