As the 117th Congress began its session earlier this year, many Democrats publicly voiced their opposition to the Senate filibuster rule, which would although them to ram through legislation with a 50-50 split upper chamber.
According to the Daily Caller, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the few moderate senators on the Democratic side of the aisle, has voiced his support for the filibuster rule and said it’s important for the minority party — whichever party that might be in a given session — to have a voice on major pieces of legislation.
“I’m not going to change my mind”
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Manchin insisted that doing away with the filibuster would render the minority party voiceless on most party-line issues.
“What you saw happen with that 50-vote swing and one vote, no matter who it may be, can make a big difference in a tied Senate, can you imagine doing day-to-day operations this way?” Manchin said. “Can you imagine not having to sit down, where there’s no reason for you to sit down, with your colleagues on both sides and have their input?”
The West Virginia senator explained that the upper chamber is supposed to decide issues based on input from the minority party and stood firmly against changing the rules of the game.
“I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster. I’ll change my mind if we need to go to a reconciliation, to where we have to get something done, once I know they have process into it,” Manchin said, referring to bills that can be passed with a simple majority using a budget reconciliation rule.
The senator did suggest a “talking filibuster” where the minority party could attempt to block pieces of legislation by talking for a very, very long time. “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” he said.
“The filibuster should be painful”
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Manchin hinted that he may be open to reforming the filibuster rule while still keeping it in place, especially with the legislative pieces that the Biden administration would like to see passed in the near future.
“The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful, and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said, adding, “Maybe it has to be more painful.”
However, Manchin stood firm on not eliminating it altogether.
Besides Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has also voiced opposition to scrapping the filibuster, the Daily Caller reported.
According to Politico, some senators have predicted that if Republicans continue to make passing bills — like the latest COVID-19 relief bill — extremely difficult, even moderate senators like Manchin and Sinema will eventually give in to their party’s demands.