President Joe Biden is keeping it within the family by picking the wife of a key Democratic senator whose vote he will need on a slew of items to lead a federal commission.
Biden announced Friday that he is nominating Gayle Conelly Manchin to become the co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership aimed at creating economic growth within the region and lead it to parity with the rest of the country.
If Manchin’s last name sounds familiar, that’s because she is married to Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote for Biden in Congress’s evenly divided Senate. And Gayle Manchin requires Senate approval for the post.
Biden tapping Manchin comes as he prepares for his next big legislative push: an infrastructure and jobs package speculated to cost up to $3 trillion. Joe Manchin has indicated Congress should pass the bill through regular order rather than via the reconciliation process. Reconciliation would allow Biden to clear the measure through the Senate with only 51 votes.
Biden’s announcement did not hide the connection while touting Gayle Manchin’s background in education and managing community programs.
“While at WVU, Gayle met and married Joe Manchin, III, elected as US Senator from West Virginia, to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Robert C. Byrd in 2010, and re-elected in 2012, and 2018 for full terms,” Biden’s team wrote, referring to their alma mater, West Virginia University.
Roughly 60 days into Biden’s presidency, Joe Manchin has already thwarted an administration nominee, former White House Office of Management and Budget pick Neera Tanden. Manchin’s decision not to support Tanden over her past partisan rhetoric scuttled her confirmation after Biden couldn’t find a Republican vote to replace him.
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