Joe Machin is an American politician who has served as the US Senator from West Virginia  since 2010. He is a registered Democrat. Manchin is a famously conservative member of the Democrat party, especially given his senatorship from West Virginia, which for decades has been a Republican state.

Born on August 24, 1947 in Farmington, West Virginia, the senator only moved out of home to attend Arizona State University on a 100% football scholarship. However, after suffering from a career-ending injury during practice, Manchin instead chose a degree in business administration, graduating in 1970 and going off to help his family’s business. 

Also Read: Inflation Reduction Act: A breakdown of US Senate’s vote

Manchin entered politics in 1982 at the age of 35 after he was voted into the West Virginia House of Delegates before being elected to the State Senate in 1986. Nearly fifteen years later, he was made the Secretary of State for West Virginia in 2000. A decade later, Machin ran for the West Virginia senator seat after the death of its previous senator, Robert Byrd.

Also Read: How climate groups reacted to Senate Democrats’ push of health, climate bill

Often described as a centrist for supporting Republicans on issues like gun rights, abortion, immigration and energy policy, Manchin was one of the co-sponsors of the new Inflation Reduction Act which passed on August 7, 2022. The new piece of legislation has will raise $739 billion, with $300  billion being spent on developing healthcare investments and deficit reduction and $370 billion to be set aside to changing energy policy and fighting climate change. 

Manchin’s support and sponsorship of the Bill, which Democrats and Republicans voted for along party lines, is especially surprising given that previous Democratic Party efforts to pass legislation through majority have failed because the West Virginia senators refused to support it. Since Biden became President in 2021 and the Senate has been a 50-50 split, Machin’s vote is often seen as the most important vote for Democrats in Congress, given that he is able to ensure that legislation passes or fails.