Democratic leaders in Congress have made it clear that they would pursue fundamental changes to the legislative branch if successful in regaining control of the Senate.
Even though it appears the GOP is on track to retain its majority in the chamber, Democrats would nonetheless find an opponent within their ranks with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) dismissing some of his colleagues’ most extreme proposals, as reported by Fox News.
Speculation surrounds upcoming Senate
Known as one of the few remaining moderates in his party, Manchin’s latest swipe at Democratic Party leadership came during an appearance this week on the Fox News Channel.
Specifically, he told anchor Bret Baier on Monday that he would not go along with any attempt to abolish the filibuster or pack the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices.
Furthermore, he distanced himself from far-left policy proposals including the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Baier led a discussion of the possibility that the Senate ends up with a 50-50 tie and the assumption that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will ultimately replace President Donald Trump in the White House on Inauguration Day.
In such a scenario, it would fall on Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote on divisive issues such as court-packing and the future of the filibuster.
“I commit to you tonight”
Acknowledging the “concern” and “fear tactics” currently at play regarding the priorities of a Democratic-controlled Senate, Manchin went on to explain that the would be no need for a tie-breaking vote on these issues since he would vote against them.
“So I commit to you tonight, and I commit to all of your viewers and everyone else that’s watching, I want to allay those fears, I want to arrest those fears for you right now, because when you talk about, whether it be packing the courts or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that,” Manchin said.
The Democrat, who frequently seeks reasons to reach across the aisle, clarified his stance on policies backed by some in his own party while emphasizing the “unique” nature of the Senate as a deliberative body purposefully designed to encourage bipartisan agreements and solutions.
“Once you start breaking down those barriers then you lose every reason why we are the institution that we are, the most deliberative body,” he said. “So I want to lay those fears to rest, that that won’t happen because I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end the filibuster or to basically block — stack the court.”
For her part, progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reacted to Manchin’s take with a harsh rebuke on Twitter: “Stop worrying about progressives, this might be the reason we don’t win the Senate races in Georgia. Good grief.”