Welcome to Joe Manchin’s Washington.
With the Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris in place to break ties, Democrats have operational control over the chamber.
But the truth of the matter is that Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate caucus, has more power — to direct the path of legislation and the fate of nominees — than even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. And with his move on the Tanden nomination, it appears as though Manchin is both willing and able to use his power to get what he wants.
Manchin made clear as far back as late November 2020 that he understood this unique moment, his role as a decider and his desire for the ideological center to rise again.
“It behooves everybody to start working together. If they don’t, it doesn’t take many of us to say, ‘Guys, we’ve given all of you a chance. We haven’t done our job for the last 10 years, and we’re going to start.'”
His opposition to Tanden then is Manchin asserting his influence — and making sure everyone from Schumer to the Democratic Party’s liberal wing (in the Senate and outside of it) understand just how much power he currently holds.
The Point: Manchin is in the catbird’s seat to push his centrist agenda. And he knows it.