Democrat Joe Manchin opposes weakening filibuster

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Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) interviews President-elect Joe Biden’s candidate for Defense Secretary, retired Army 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 said he will not vote in any way to remove or weaken the filibuster, likely ending efforts to lower barriers to passage of parts of the president Joe bidenthe agenda of 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 major political debates facing our country,” wrote the moderate Democrat of West Virginia. in a press release. editorial in the Washington Post published Wednesday.

Filing typically requires legislation to garner 60 votes in the Senate, which is split 50-50 equally between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have worked to get rid of or change obstructionism – which the former president Barack obama called a relic of Jim Crow – to pass sweeping electoral reform law.

Manchin has repeatedly stated that he opposes the elimination of filibuster, 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, was open to the idea, saying it was like “it was before when I came to the Senate in the good old days.”

Manchin’s outright rejection of any filibuster reform came a day after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, another moderate, told The Wall Street Journal she opposed to efforts to relax the rules.

Manchin, who wields disproportionate influence due to the evenly divided upper house of Congress, also said he opposes the regular use of budget reconciliation, a mechanism that allows Congress to pass certain bills. of law by simple majority.

The $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief bill passed through reconciliation, and Democrats 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 think budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate. How is this 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 in the Senate disproportionate 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. It goes to the heart of what representative government is,” Manchin wrote.

Manchin opposed the Democrat-led effort in 2013 to remove obstruction from cabinet and federal judge candidates and the Republican-led effort in 2017 to remove him for the presidential candidates. 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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