Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) interviews President-elect Joe Biden’s candidate for Defense Secretary General Lloyd Austin during his confirmation to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
Greg Nash | Swimming pool | Reuters
Senator Joe Manchin has said he will in no way vote to remove or weaken the filibuster, likely ending efforts to reduce barriers to parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda passing through Congress with only Democratic votes.
“The time has come to end these political games and usher in a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the great political debates facing our nation,” wrote the moderate Democrat of West Virginia. in a published Washington Post editorial. Wednesday.
The Filibuster typically requires legislation to garner 60 votes in the Senate, which is equally divided 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are trying to get rid of or change the filibuster – which former President Barack Obama called a relic of Jim Crow – to pass sweeping electoral reform legislation.
Manchin has repeatedly stated that he is opposed to removing filibustering, but recently appeared to be open to reforms, such as forcing senators who claim filibustering to speak at length in the Senate.
Biden, another supporter of filibuster, had expressed openness to the idea, saying it was like this “before I came to the Senate in the old days.”
Manchin’s outright rejection of any filibuster reform came a day after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Another moderate, told the Wall Street Journal that she opposed efforts to relax the rules.
Manchin, who wields disproportionate influence due to the equal division in the upper house of Congress, also said he opposed the regular use of budget reconciliation, a mechanism that allows Congress to vote certain naked majority bills.
The $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill was passed through reconciliation, and Democrats also prepared to use the process to secure passage of Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan . Manchin said he opposed the corporate tax increases included in the bill.
Manchin wrote that if the filibuster is removed or if budget reconciliation becomes the norm, “a new and dangerous precedent will be set for passing sweeping partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation whenever there is a change. of political control. “
“The consequences will be profound – our nation may never see a stable government again,” Manchin wrote.
“I just don’t believe that 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 fellow Republicans on important national issues. Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no and participate in the search for a real compromise with the Democrats.”
Manchin said his opposition to weakening the filibuster was tied to his representation of West Virginia, a small state that wields influence disproportionately in the Senate relative to its population.
“It’s no accident that a state as small as West Virginia has the same number of senators as California or Texas. This goes to the heart of representative government, ”Manchin wrote.
Manchin opposed the Democrat-led effort in 2013 to remove the filibuster of cabinet-level and federal judge candidates and the Republican-led effort in 2017 to eliminate him from running for office. Supreme Court. Both efforts were successful.
“Every time the Senate has voted to weaken the filibuster over the past decade, the political dysfunction and stalemate has become more serious,” Manchin wrote. “The political games taking place in the halls of Congress only fuel the hateful rhetoric and violence that we are seeing across our country right now.”
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