Biden agenda killed as Sinema, Manchin slam door shut on altering Senate filibuster

President Joe Biden went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to lobby Senate Democrats to abolish or at least alter the chamber’s filibuster rule, which requires a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to move forward.

Biden and progressives are hoping to end the filibuster to help them push through a sweeping election reform package through the Senate — but it looks like those hopes have been killed by the likes of Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), who have remained steadfast in their opposition to changing tradition in the upper chamber. 

According to Fox News, Sinema delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor just ahead of Biden’s visit wherein she made clear that she would not support efforts to alter the filibuster, even for legislation she otherwise supports.

Sinema’s speech came alongside similar sentiments expressed by Manchin, and some have suggested the opinion is shared by other moderate Democrats in the Senate who remain vulnerable to re-election this fall.

Sinema remains a firm no

For her part, Sinema began her nearly 20-minute talk by highlighting deepening political divisions across America and drawing attention to problems Democrats see with the nation’s election laws, particularly in GOP-led states. In fact, Sinema even expressed her support for her party’s legislative solutions on the issue.

But she wasn’t sold on bending the rules to do it.

“These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself. And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division affecting our country,” Sinema said.

“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” she added.

“But what is the legislative filibuster, other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by senators, representing the broader cross-section of Americans — a guardrail,” Sinema said. Take a look:

Manchin piles on, Biden concedes defeat

Following Sen. Sinema’s speech, Sen. Manchin issued a statement that boiled down to one overarching message: “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”

Apparently failing in his efforts to change their minds, Biden left Capitol Hill “agitated” on Thursday, reporters claimed. “Like every other major civil rights bill that came along, if we miss the first time, we can come back and try it a second time. We missed this time. We missed this time,” Biden said, effectively admitting defeat, at least for the time being.

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