WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., a crucial decisive vote in the slim majority of Senate Democrats, said on Sunday he would not bow in his support for filibuster, a Senate rule that requires the Most of the laws require bipartisanship. support to pass.
But he added that he would be open to Democrats passing more important laws such as voting reforms by a party line vote – if senators have enough space for bipartisan negotiation first. .
“I’m not going to change my mind about filibuster,” Manchin said in an interview with “Meet the Press”.
“You have to listen to the minority to make sure the majority are doing things right.”
The filibuster effectively sets the bar for most laws with 60 votes in the Senate, which means Democrats currently need the support of 10 Republican senators to cross the finish line on many of their legislative articles.
Progressives have pressured Senate Democrats to abolish filibuster, arguing lowering that threshold is the only way to get President Joe Biden’s agenda through, but Manchin’s vote would be necessary to get rid of the rule of procedure.
Manchin has repeated the calls several times, although he said on Sunday’s show that he was “ready to consider” ideas to make the filibuster “a little more painful,” such as demanding lawmakers qu ‘they take the floor for marathon speeches if they wanted to. to use the procedure.
There is another option, reconciliation, which allows the Senate to pass a limited number of budget bills each year by simple majority.
It’s a process that Senate Democrats used to pass their $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief bill with just 50 votes on Saturday, and which Manchin says could be back on the table if negotiations bipartites failed in the future.
“We don’t need to go to reconciliation until the other process has failed. It means the normal process of a committee, a hearing, amendments, ”he said when asked if reconciliation could be used to pass voting reforms in the future.
House Democrats just passed a major ethics and voting reform bill last week, but the legislation is unlikely to gain bipartisan support. There are strict rules about what types of provisions may be eligible for reconciliation, so it is unclear which part of this bill might survive the reconciliation process.
“I will change my mind if we have to move towards reconciliation” if “we have to do something,” Manchin said, but only after “my Republican friends will also have a chance to speak.”
Manchin, one of the more moderate members of the narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, has wielded significant power given that his party cannot afford a single defection when it tries to pass legislation or nominations by a online voting.
That power helped Manchin to secure changes to the unemployment benefit provisions in the Covid Relief Bill, a demand that briefly delayed the final vote.
The bill includes the $ 1,400 stimulus checks sent directly to eligible Americans, as well as other provisions such as a temporary extension of the child tax credit and an extension of additional unemployment, as well as assistance to eligible Americans. health care, state governments and vaccine distribution.
The House is expected to pass the bill early this week and send it to Biden to become law.