"As such, while I believe the DADT policy will be repealed, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I cannot support a repeal of the policy at this time," he said.
He said he opposes the DREAM Act because it does not require young people seeking citizenship to complete their college degrees.
"Requiring the completion of a degree is exactly what the DREAM Act should be about, as it will help ensure that the young people who qualify have a real chance to fulfill the American Dream and become the productive citizens they aspire to be," he said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee slammed the former governor for missing the votes.
"I'm sure that most senators, as well as the hundreds of staffers who had to come to work today, would have rather been at a Christmas party like Joe Manchin," NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement. "For a senator who has only been on the job a few weeks, Manchin's absence today, and the apparent lack of seriousness with which he takes the job he was elected to do, speaks volumes."
West Virginia's other Democratic senator, Jay Rockefeller, voted in support of the DREAM Act and for repealing DADT.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.