This week, the Institute of Politics at Florida State University hosted a webinar featuring U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, and former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. during its “Celebrating Civility” series.

The discussion was moderated by former Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chair and Florida State University adjunct faculty member Al Cardenas.

In sharing their thoughts on the state of American politics, bipartisanship, and the prospects for policymaking in the current Congress, the discussion turned toward presidential cabinet nominations, specifically President Joe Biden’s nominee, Neera Tanden, to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Manchin explained his opposition to the nomination due to her heavy political involvement and outspoken beliefs on social media, stating that, “you are putting her in a position to fail.” He cited the riots at the Capitol on January 6 for forever changing his outlook on the dangers of voting along party lines without thinking critically.

In a U.S. Senate that is evenly split, 50 Democrats (two independents) and 50 Republicans, his decision disrupted the Democrats’ plan to confirm Tanden assuming the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. Tanden removed her name from consideration on Tuesday.

Martinez recalled a time when he served in a Senate–from 2005 to 2009–that was also 50/50 split.

“We didn’t appreciate how tenuous that balance was …every day there is a battle, every vote becomes a crisis,” said Martinez. However, he was confirmed in 2000 by a unanimous vote of 100-0 to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


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