Progressive Democrats have increasingly badgered moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) over their refusal to sign on to a plan that would end the filibuster in the upper chamber.
Now, President Joe Biden has joined in on the vocal criticism, including in one instance when he seemed to falsely insinuate that they vote more often with Republicans than their own party, as The Daily Wire noted.
“A tie in the Senate”
Both Democratic senators have continually asserted that they would not vote to abolish the Senate procedure requiring a 60-vote majority to advance most bills. Ending the filibuster would allow Democrats to more easily push through an agenda in the evenly divided chamber.
During the president’s speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, he commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the Greenwood massacre in which hundreds of Black residents were believed to have been killed in a racially motivated attack.
Biden took time out of that address, however, to reference the criticism by some in the media over his perceived inability to advance an agenda. Without directly naming either senator, he appeared to point the finger at Manchin and Sinema.
He explained that the makeup of Congress has been a hurdle for his administration, noting that the Democratic Party “only has a majority of, effectively, four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.”
It did not take much of a fact-check to prove that statement wrong, but the Associated Press did so nonetheless.
“He considers them both friends”
The AP’s report determined that as of this point in the Biden administration, both senators have voted in alignment with the president 100% of the time. While Manchin and Sinema have tended to reach across the aisle more than their colleagues in years past, they did not do so during the early months of the current administration.
PolitiFact also gave the assertion a “Mostly False” label, pointing to the fact that both senators have refused to nuke the filibuster — along with a few other arguably minor votes — to grant Biden a bit of wiggle room in defending his rhetoric.
During a White House briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki fielded a question on the matter and attempted to employ some partisan spin in response.
She suggested that Biden had not been speaking for himself but sought to echo what he had heard from pundits on TV.
Pressed on whether the president’s remarks had been intended as “criticism” of Manchin and Sinema, Psaki replied: “It was not. No. He considers them both friends. He considers them both good working partners.”