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Senator Joe Manchin explains his vote to proceed with Republican police reform bill

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin was one of three senators in his caucus — along with Alabama Senator Doug Jones, also a Democrat, and Senator Angus King, independent from Maine — who voted in favor of debating a Republican police reform bill this week. Most Democrats voted against moving forward, arguing that the measure did not go far enough to address police brutality. But Manchin believed he wouldn't be able to explain a decision not to advance the measure to his constituents back in West Virginia. 

"As a Democrat we have to understand we're not in the majority in the Senate," Manchin said in an interview with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. "I thought that would be a good debate and all of us would be educated and learn a lot." However, he also said that he believed the bill should have been debated in the Judiciary Committee first before going to the Senate floor, where it failed to attract enough support to advance.


Highlights from this week's episode:

  • Manchin on why he voted to move forward on the Senate police reform bill: "I thought that would be a good debate and all of us would be educated and learn a lot."
  • How the Senate should move forward on police reform legislation: "Why don't you put it back in committee and work it the way every bill's supposed to be worked, in committee?"
  • Coronavirus in West Virginia: "We've been identified as the state with the most vulnerable populations."
  • The need to wear masks and maintain social distancing: "If we're not prepared to do that, then we're not prepared to open up."

There is "such a lack of trust" between Senate Democrats and Republicans, that Democrats didn't trust that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would actually allow for discussion of amendments if they moved the bill forward, Manchin told Garrett. Republican Senator Tim Scott, who proposed the bill, told reporters that he had offered Democrats the opportunity to add amendments. But 60 votes are required to add an amendment, meaning that Democrats would fall short of the votes to do so.

"I truly wanted to see if Mitch would fulfill the promise he made," Manchin said, referring to the amendment process.

Listen to this episode on ART19

Manchin said that he believed McConnell had the power to ensure that there was Senate action on police reform.

"If he wants it, it'll happen," he said, adding that he would tell McConnell, "'Now sit down and do the job you should've done'" by debating the proposal in committee first.

"Why don't you put it back in committee and work it the way every bill's supposed to be worked, in committee?" Manchin asked.

Manchin also talked about the coronavirus and his state's response to the pandemic.

"We've been identified as the state with the most vulnerable populations," Manchin said of West Virginia. He also said it was critical for people to wear masks and maintain social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

"If we're not prepared to do that, then we're not prepared to open up," Manchin said.

For more of Major's conversation with Manchin, download "The Takeout" podcast on Art19, iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

Producers: Arden Farhi, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin, Julia Boccagno and Grace Segers
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast
Facebook: Facebook.com/TakeoutPodcast

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