Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) questions President-elect Joe Biden about the candidate for retired Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters
Senator Joe Manchin said under no circumstances would he vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster, which would likely lead to tight efforts to clear the obstacles to passing parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda in Congress with only Democratic votes reduce.
“It is time to end these political games and usher in a new era of bipartisanism in which we find common ground in our nation’s major political debates,” the moderate West Virginia Democrat wrote in a comment published in the Washington Post Wednesday .
The filibuster generally requires that the legislature receive 60 votes in the Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans between 50 and 50 votes. Democrats have sought to get rid of or alter the filibuster, which former President Barack Obama has referred to as a relic of Jim Crow, in order to pass sweeping laws to reform elections.
Manchin have repeatedly said they oppose the elimination of the filibuster, but recently appeared open to reforms such as forcing senators who call a filibuster to speak at length in the Senate.
Another filibuster proponent, Biden, had expressed openness to the idea, saying it was what it “was like when I was in the Senate for the first time”.
Manchin’s outright opposition to filibuster reform came a day after Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Another moderator, told the Wall Street Journal that she was resisting efforts to relax the rules.
Manchin, exaggerated in influence because of the even divide in the upper chamber of Congress, also opposed the regular use of budget voting, a mechanism that allows Congress to pass certain laws by a mere majority.
The $ 1.9 trillion Covid Relief Act was passed through reconciliation, and Democrats have prepared to use the process to ensure the passage of Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan. Some people have said they are opposed to the corporate tax increases included in the bill.
Some people wrote that if the filibuster were eliminated or budget voting became the norm, “a new and dangerous precedent would be created for sweeping party-political laws to be passed that would change the direction of our nation every time political control changes.”
“The consequences will be profound – our nation may never see stable government again,” wrote Manchin.
“I just don’t think a budget vote should replace regular order in the Senate. How good is that for the future of this nation?” Manchin added. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues. However, Republicans have a responsibility to stop saying no and to engage in finding a real compromise with Democrats.”
Manchin said his opposition to the filibuster’s weakening has to do with his representation of West Virginia, a small state that has Senate influence disproportionate to its population.
“It is no coincidence that a state as small as West Virginia has the same number of senators as California or Texas. That is at the heart of what representative government is about,” wrote Manchin.
Manchin opposed the 2013 Democratic-led efforts to get rid of the filibuster for cabinet-level candidates and federal judges, and the 2017 Republican-led efforts to get rid of it for Supreme Court candidates. Both efforts were successful.
“Every time the Senate has voted to weaken the filibuster over the past decade, the political dysfunction and stalemate have grown worse,” wrote Manchin. “The political games in the congress halls are only fueling the hateful rhetoric and violence that we are currently seeing in our country.”
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