While the West Virginia senator criticized a new Mother Jones article, he admitted that he had offered to become an independent if he was "embarrassing" to other Democrats
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Joe Manchin says he's not planning to leave the Democratic Party.

"It's b-------," the West Virginia senator told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after being asked about a new, anonymously sourced report that he has got a plan to switch his party affiliation and is considering implementing it amid ongoing spending bill negotiations.

"I can't control rumors, and it's b-------, b------- spelled with b, u, l, l, capital B!" Manchin, 74, said as he walked through the Hart Senate Office Building, according to The Hill.

Mother Jones initially reported Wednesday that Manchin has been telling people he is considering leaving the Democratic Party during talks over the price tag for President Joe Biden's proposed Build Back Better Act, a sweeping spending package.

The report did not name sources but attributed the information to "people who have heard Manchin discuss this."

After flatly denying the story, Manchin later told The Hill and Fox News that he had expressed feelings adjacent to what Mother Jones reported.

Manchin said he had offered to leave the Democratic Party and become an independent, while still voting with the Democrats, if that would be helpful to his colleagues with whom he disagreed by making his politics more clear.

"If it is 'embarrassing' to them to have a moderate, centrist Democrat in the mix and if it would help them publicly, I could become an independent," he said he offered.

But that proposition never went anywhere, Manchin said.

"I'm not threatening to leave. Why would I? I'm very secure in my positions and honestly, I'm not the one stressed out," Manchin told The Hill.

Sen. Joe Manchin
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Despite Manchin's denial, Mother Jones' editor said they stood by their report.

The magazine's article also included details about Manchin's purported plan to leave his party: First, he would send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to remove himself from Democratic leadership in the Senate. A week later, he would change his voter registration from Democrat to independent.

Manchin is up for reelection in 2024 and has not yet announced whether he'll seek a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

Given his centrist streak and opposition to some major liberal priorities, Manchin has been a key vote to persuade as his fellow Democrats seek to pass legislation through the upper chamber, where they hold a bare majority.

There are two independents currently serving in the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. Both caucus with the 48 Democrats.