Schumer dodges question on whether he will back Manchin and Sinema if they are primaried


Schumer also neglected to give a straight answer on whether he was 'frustrated' by Manchin

Schumer also neglected to give a straight answer on whether he was ‘frustrated’ by Manchin

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dodged a question in a Wednesday interview about where he would stand on the prospect of primary challenges against moderate Democrat Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. 

The centrists have fueled frustration within party leadership and among fellow Democrats in Congress after their opposition in a 50-50 split Senate served to derail key parts of President Joe Biden‘s agenda. 

Their role in tanking federal voting rights legislation last month has sparked a progressive outcry for primary challengers to unseat both senators. Backlash against Sinema included a formal censure from the Arizona Democratic Party. 

Both Manchin and Sinema’s seats are up for re-election in 2024.

Schumer would not say when asked by CNN whether he’d support or oppose such challenges, shifting focus to the much nearer November midterm elections.

‘I am focused on 2022, getting things done, and winning the election on 2022,’ Schumer said.

‘I’m not at all focused on 2024 right now, and neither should anyone else be. That’s just how you lose in 2022.’

He defended forcing a floor vote on Democrats’ Freedom To Vote: John R. Lewis Act and a subsequent vote on whether to scuttle the filibuster to pass the package with a simple majority — both of which predictably failed.

Schumer reasoned that ‘when it comes to something as crucial as voting rights, can’t just push it off the table.’  

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema's role in derailing Biden's voting rights legislation last month has fueled progressive calls for them to face primary challenges

They're both up for re-election in 2024

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s role in derailing Biden’s voting rights legislation last month has fueled progressive calls for them to face primary challenges

‘Senators are there to vote. We had to vote. And I think it was the right decision. And it had virtually, it had broad, wide, and deep support in our caucus,’ he said.

He claimed that ‘talks are continuing’ to pass some form of Build Back Better in a portion of his remarks to CNN from last week but published Wednesday. However on Tuesday Manchin declared Biden’s sweeping social reform and climate bill is ‘dead.’

When asked whether he was frustrated by Manchin, Schumer again neglected to give a clear answer.

‘Joe Manchin and I go back a long way, and obviously, I let him know my point of view and (we will) try to persuade him, as does the whole caucus, that our point of view is the correct point of view,’ he said. 

The New York Democrat, who’s served in the Senate since 1999, also shrugged off concerns of a primary challenge to his own seat — up for re-election this year. 

‘When it comes to reelection, I work really hard for New York and it always works out fine,’ Schumer said. ‘I always am looking forward, not over my shoulder.’

Schumer is sure to face more questions about his primary odds as the election nears, with months old rumors trailing him that rising progressive star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would mount her own Senate bid.

During the interview Schumer shrugged off concerns that he could face his own primary challenge this year, as rumors circulate that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could take on the longtime New York senator

During the interview Schumer shrugged off concerns that he could face his own primary challenge this year, as rumors circulate that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could take on the longtime New York senator

Ocasio-Cortez has not ruled out taking on Schumer in past interviews but has not signaled that she was so inclined, either. 

High-profile progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders have said they’d support liberal primary challenges to Manchin in West Virginia or Sinema in Arizona. 

Last week Ocasio-Cortez said Sinema hasn’t ‘given a compelling case’ for why she should keep her seat and suggested she would support a primary challenge from Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego. 

But talk of scouting primary challenges for Manchin and Sinema has died down in the Senate in the weeks since the voting bill failed. 

Progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who earlier suggested she’d be open to supporting challenges to the moderates, told Politico earlier this week: ‘We need to get work done. Right now. We’ve got Build Back Better still hanging in the balance. I want to work with all 50 Democrats and get something passed now.’

Democrat Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii told the outlet he wouldn’t support Sanders’ bid to unseat Manchin and Sinema.

‘It’s a free country. I wouldn’t recommend it,’ he said.

Sinema’s fellow Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly opposed her censure.

‘We’ve got people talking about an election in ‘24? So, I don’t get it,’ the retired astronaut said. 



Read More

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More