Biden Nominates Joe Manchin’s Wife to Co-Chair Appalachian Regional Commission

Gayle Manchin speaks during a news conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania January 5, 2006. (Jason Cohn/Reuters)

President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Gayle Conelly Manchin, the wife of Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) to serve as co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The appointment would see Gayle Manchin, the former president of the West Virginia Board of Education, heading the ARC —an economic development partnership between the federal government and 13 state governments with the aim of investing in Appalachian communities.

The West Virginia senator is a crucial vote for Biden and Democrats to be able to pass legislation through the evenly divided Senate.

Manchin has recently come under pressure from fellow Democrats over his refusal to back changes to the filibuster.

Democrats who are in favor of making changes to the filibuster or eliminating it entirely are stressing the importance of passing the voting-rights bill H.R. 1 to justify the push, and have taken to suggesting that the filibuster is a racist anachronism.

Manchin supports certain provisions within the voting-rights legislation but has said that it does not justify doing away with or modifying a key feature of the senate.

“No, it will not, no, no,” Manchin told CNN Thursday when asked if Republican opposition to the voting rights bill would change his stance on the filibuster.

President Joe Biden referred to the filibuster as a “Jim Crow relic” during his Thursday press conference and Democratic ally Al Sharpton has suggested that Manchin’s opposition to changing or eliminating it will convince voters that he is “supporting racism.”

“The pressure that we are going to put on Sinema and Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism,” Sharpton said. “Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.”

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