West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said his relationship with Joe Manchin was good, as he praised the Democratic senator for defending the Senate filibuster rule against those in his party who want to reform or scrap it.
Speaking at a COVID press briefing, the Republican said he was proud of Sen. Manchin (D-WV) for holding “the line on what’s reasonable,” as he argued that Washington, D.C., had “tilted so far to the left” over the past year.
He added that reforms to the Senate filibuster rule, which effectively allows a minority of at least 41 lawmakers to block legislation, would do grave damage to the country if they went ahead.
His praise for Manchin was surprising, as the two were at loggerheads over a provision in the American Rescue Plan three months ago.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Justice said: “The relationship between myself and Senator Manchin is good. I would tell you I hope Joe continues to hold the line on what’s reasonable. We all know that Washington has surely tilted so far to the left in so many ways it’s just totally ridiculous in lots and lots of ways.”
He later added that his relationship with Senator Manchin was great, and said he was “really proud of the fact that Joe stood up in regard to this filibuster stuff,” which he called the “dagger” that would destroy the U.S.
The West Virginia governor and Manchin were embroiled in a row in March over a COVID stimulus bill provision that threatened to make it harder for Justice to deliver tax cuts in the state.
The latest COVID stimulus bill contained $350 billion in aid for state and local governments, but barred the funds from being used to offset losses from tax cuts or similar measures.
The Republican accused the Democratic senator of not caring about local people at the time, and claimed he had sold his influence in Congress, while Manchin dismissed his “political attacks.”
“He doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about the people of this state,” Justice said at a March COVID briefing. “Literally, Joe Manchin is selling his influence and making money.”
The Democratic senator said that Justice’s attacks were doing “nothing to help hard-working West Virginians,” and said he was open to speaking with the Republican governor about the measure.
“Policy differences do not justify personal attacks; I want to work with Governor Justice in the best interest of our state,” Manchin said in a statement at the time.
Newsweek has contacted Senator Manchin’s office for further comment.