President Biden selected the wife of an extremely influential US senator to a seat on the federal commission, the White House announced Friday.
Biden appointed Gayle Conelly Manchin to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission, a 13-state economic development partnership designed to boost investment in the Appalachian Region.
Manchin is an educator, former chairman of the West Virginia State Board of Education, and former First Lady of West Virginia.
She has been married for 53 years to Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., a critical vote in the Senate for Biden if he wants any of his top legislative priorities passed.
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With the Democrats with the smallest majorities split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, Manchin’s influence in the Senate has grown enormously.
As a moderate of a red state, Manchin has openly rejected some of the Democrats’ bolder ideas, including the $ 15 minimum wage, eliminating filibuster and powerful gun control legislation. Their resistance has forced concessions.
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For example, during the passage of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation in which the Democrats had to be totally united, Manchin and the White House were in negotiations that ultimately led to reducing the amount of insurance benefits of unemployment in the final package that went through party lines.
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The Appalachian Regional Commission includes the governors of each of the 13 Appalachian states and the Federal Co-Chair who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. It operates with a budget of approximately $ 165 million.
It was not immediately clear when Manchin’s confirmation vote would take place before the Senate.