Democrat Joe Manchin opposes weakening the filibuster


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) questions President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin throughout his affirmation earlier than the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters

Sen. Joe Manchin stated he won’t vote to get rid of or weaken the filibuster beneath any circumstances, doubtless bringing to an in depth efforts to decrease the boundaries to passing components of President Joe Biden‘s agenda in Congress with solely Democratic votes.

“The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” the average West Virginia Democrat wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post revealed Wednesday.

The filibuster typically requires laws to garner 60 votes in the Senate, which is evenly divided 50-50 amongst Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have been angling to eliminate or change the filibuster — which former President Barack Obama has referred to as a relic of Jim Crow — to go sweeping elections reform laws.

Manchin has repeatedly stated he opposes eliminating the filibuster, however appeared just lately to be open to reforms, resembling forcing senators who invoke a filibuster to speak at size on the Senate ground.

Biden, one other supporter of the filibuster, had expressed openness to that concept, saying it was the way it “used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days.”

Manchin’s outright rejection of any filibuster reform got here a day after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., one other average, informed The Wall Street Journal that she opposed efforts to ease the rules.

Manchin, who holds outsize affect on account of the even divide in Congress’ higher chamber, additionally stated he opposed the common use of funds reconciliation, a mechanism that enables Congress to go sure payments with a naked majority.

The $1.9 trillion Covid reduction invoice was handed by way of reconciliation, and Democrats have been getting ready to make use of the course of to guarantee the passage of Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Manchin has stated he opposes the company tax hikes included in the invoice.

Manchin wrote that if the filibuster had been eradicated or funds reconciliation grew to become the norm, a “new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping, partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation every time there is a change in political control.”

“The consequences will be profound — our nation may never see stable governing again,” Manchin wrote.

“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate. How is that good for the future of this nation?” Manchin added. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues. Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats.”

Manchin stated his opposition to weakening the filibuster was associated to his illustration of West Virginia, a small state that wields affect in the Senate that’s disproportionate to its inhabitants.

“It’s no accident that a state as small as West Virginia has the same number of senators as California or Texas. It goes to the heart of what representative government is all about,” Manchin wrote.

Manchin opposed the Democratic-led effort in 2013 to get rid of the filibuster for Cabinet-level nominees and federal judges and the Republican-led effort in 2017 to get rid of it for Supreme Court nominees. Both efforts had been profitable.

“Every time the Senate voted to weaken the filibuster in the past decade, the political dysfunction and gridlock have grown more severe,” Manchin wrote. “The political games playing out in the halls of Congress only fuel the hateful rhetoric and violence we see across our country right now.”

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