(CNSNews.com) - "I'm not a roadblock at all," Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN's "State of the Union' on Sunday.
The West Virginia Democrat was defending his defense of the Senate filibuster, the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most legislation. Both Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said they will not vote to abolish the longstanding Senate rule that -- so far -- is preventing Senate Democrats from ramming through their big-government agenda without a single Republican vote.
"The best politics is good government," Manchin said:
I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or, basically, this democracy of ours or the republic that we have. If we have a 51-vote threshold in the Senate, the same as the House, the House wasn't designed to be partisan. The House was designed to be hot as a firecracker.
We were designed to cool it off. And that's the Founding Fathers. It was a brilliant, brilliant strategy they looked at.
So, why can't we try to make this work? If you have the violent swings every time you have a party change, then we will have no consistency whatsoever.
In the evenly divided Senate, Manchin and Sinema -- both from red states -- are seen as the decisive votes on a range of issues that Democrats view as a chance to consolidate their power and transform America.
For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "Fox News Sunday" that Joe Manchin is going to be a "key player" in a possible bipartisan compromise on infrastructure. "Watch Joe Manchin," Graham said. "Joe is going to be a key player here. I met with him a couple of days ago."
Manchin, in a show of bipartisanship, told Politico Playbook on Friday he's endorsing the re-election of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a liberal Republican from Alaska who is often out-of-step with her fellow Republicans.
Manchin said Murkowski is "solid" on the issues -- "not afraid to...step out and make a decision. She's done that and done it so well over many, many years...There's no time when she's ever basically gone just along party lines for the sake of party lines. She gives it a good, strenuous thought process.
"And I think people like Lisa Murkowski should be in the Senate. And I'm going to support the people that I do. I don't look at the party lines saying, that's a barrier for me. Party line -- the country is what my concern is, and having the best people to make a decision.
"There's so much we can do together," Manchin continued. "You can't throw out -- you just can't throw out the purpose of us being in the Senate. There's two senators for every state, little Delaware, little Rhode Island, big California, big Texas, big New York. Why? They don't want the big person beating up on the little person.
"In the Senate, the minority always has input. And it has to stay that way."