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Senator Joe Manchin on Wednesday slammed efforts by progressive members of his party to slash police department budgets, saying the Democratic Party as he conceives of it does not have “some crazy socialist agenda.”
“Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police,” Manchin wrote in a tweet Wednesday evening.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York progressive who has voiced support for cutting police budgets, responded to Manchin by tweeting a photo of herself during the State of the Union address in February offering what appears to be a glare in Manchin’s direction.
Manchin, one of the most moderate members of his party, could end up being the deciding vote on a number of issues should Senate control be split between Republicans and Democrats. Two Georgia Senate races headed for runoff elections in January are expected to decide the balance of power in the upper chamber. Republicans currently have 50 seats in the Senate to Democrats’ 48 seats.
Instead of defunding police departments, they should be given even more funding in order to better educate and protect officers, Manchin said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
The West Virginia Democrat also voiced his commitment to voting against packing the courts or nixing the legislative filibuster and criticized “Medicare for all” proposals, saying Democrats should attempt to get Republicans to work with them on a good healthcare bill.
“Under no circumstances would I support packing the court or ending the filibuster if there is a 50-50 tie,” he said.
Since the police custody death of George Floyd in May, progressive Democrats have called for stripping some or all funding from police departments as a step towards combating police brutality.