interior motives
February 24, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is once again the swing vote President Biden needs to secure a narrow win — and he's coming through for his party.

On Wednesday, Manchin affirmed he'd support the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to be Biden's interior secretary. Manchin has often opposed measures and candidates that put his state's fossil fuel industry at risk, and Haaland is clear in her intent to move the U.S. past reliance on fossil fuels. But "while we do not agree on every issue," Manchin said in a statement that Haaland's "strong commitment to bipartisanship" and some of Manchin's own priorities won him over.

Manchin has gained influence in this Congress as the most moderate member of the Democratic Senate's narrow 50-50 majority, potentially sinking the Democrats' inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in Biden's COVID-19 relief bill.

It's possible that another Democrat could split from the coalition and cost Haaland the confirmation. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has recently been a party spoiler after her opposition to the $15 minimum wage, but The Washington Post's Dave Weigel doesn't think she'll be a hangup this time around. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads