Senator Joe Manchin said Monday that he is not deterred by threats of the Republican leader of the Senate to sink a bipartisan bill strengthening economic competitiveness against China.
“I will not leave if someone wants to threaten me or hold me hostage, if I can help the country,” the conservative Democrat told reporters. “And if they want to do politics and do party politics, shame on them.”
Manchin added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was “so wrong” to threaten to sink bipartisan USICA legislation, which would boost federal investment in emerging technologies such as chips. computers. The Kentucky Republican reiterated the ultimatum, tied to recent Democratic efforts to resuscitate their economic agenda, hours later.
“Party line intrigue will oust him,” McConnell told the Senate on Monday. “Our side cannot agree to frantically push through bipartisan talks in order to meet an artificial timetable, so that our fellow Democrats can clean up the decks to impose a tax hike in line with the party.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week that Democrats planned to call a classified briefing of all senators for the bipartisan bill because it was “vital to the America’s long-term national security”.
Republican and Democratic negotiators had spent months negotiating the bill to strengthen the domestic semiconductor industry among other sectors in a bid to reduce the United States’ reliance on Chinese imports of strategically and economically important products, but have made little progress on an agreement.
Separately, Manchin continues to negotiate with Schumer on a slimmer, Democrat-only spending bill focused on prescription drug reforms, deficit reduction and a mix of climate and energy incentives.