Joe Biden nominates the wife of powerhouse West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin to co-chair Appalachian commission
- Gayle Manchin is an educator who served as first lady of West Virginia
- Biden nominated her to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission
- It awards grants and projects throughout the economically struggling region
- Manchin voted for key Pentagon nominee Thursday
- But he helped sink nomination of Neera Tanden to budget post
- He also opposes eliminating the legislative filibuster
- Only Democratic senator not to cosponsor sweeping voting rights bill
- His seat in a GOP-leaning state helps Democrats maintain control of the 50-50 senate
President Joe Biden has named the wife of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to a federal commission – providing a benefit to the lawmaker who has been a key gatekeeper for major legislation and nominations.
Gayle Manchin’s nomination to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission was included Friday at the bottom of a White House release on several appointments to similar panels.
The commission helps award grants and fund projects intended to assist communities in the economically struggling region, which includes parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and other parts of coal country and counties spread throughout the Appalachian Mountain region.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is a key player in the 50-50 Senate. President Joe Biden is nominating his wife, Gayle, to co-chair Appalachian Regional Commission
She is described as an educator who ran the Community Service Learning Program and Fairmont State University. It notes that she served as the state’s first lady, and on the state Board of Education, while holding other posts, having obtained a Master’s degree in Reading.
Another important part of her bio was included in the release. ‘While at WVU, Gayle met and married Joe Manchin, III, elected as US Senator from West Virginia, to fill the unexpired term of Senator Robert C Byrd in 2010, and re-elected in 2012, and 2018 for full terms. Joe and Gayle have been married for 53 years and have three children and ten grandchildren,’ it says.
Senator from West Virginia (D) Joe Manchin III is flanked his wife Gayle as he is sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence during the swearing-in re-enactments for recently elected senators in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC January 3, 2019. Manchin helped move a key nominee through committee Thursday
President Biden demanded action on voting rights and suggested openness to changing the legislative filibuster Thursday
Manchin helped to kill the nomination of Neera Tanden to head the White House Office of Management and budget. But in another demonstration of his sway, he gave his support after holding out for Colin Kahl to a top Pentagon post after holding out.
The tie vote included a ‘yes’ vote from Manchin, likely saving the nomination and making it possible to bring it to the floor.
His seat in a GOP-leaning state helps Democrats maintain control of the 50-50 senate, although his positions have sometimes drawn fire from the left wing of his party.
Manchin is the only Democratic senator not to cosponsor a massive voting rights bill that President Biden called a top priority at his first White House press conference Thursday.
He has said he likes some of the ideas in the bill but wants to act in a bipartisan fashion – giving him the opportunity to serve as the linchpin in negotiations.
His opposition to nuking the legislative filibuster puts includes him in a small group of Democrats who could hold the fate of the overall Biden agenda in his hands.
The Appalachian Regional Commission awards numerous projects in the region, including education and health care projects in Alabama, business grants in Kentucky, and sewer upgrades in West Virginia.
He is against a $15 minimum wage bill and favors a smaller increase.