Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia isn’t afraid to stick to his principles, even if it means going against the grain of his party.
According to Fox News, Manchin doubled down over the weekend on his opposition to efforts by Democrats to end the filibuster in the U.S. Senate.
“A critical tool”
According to Reuters, the filibuster is “a long-standing Senate custom that requires a supermajority” of 60 votes “to advance most legislation” in the upper chamber. Without it, Democrats would need just a simple majority of 51 votes to move bills to the floor for a final vote, effectively allowing them to pursue whatever radical agenda they want without GOP input, since the Senate is currently evenly divided with 50 Dems and 50 Republicans.
Manchin, for his part, has for months been one of a small handful of leftist lawmakers who remain opposed to ending the rule.
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post earlier this year, according to Fox.
“The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” he added.
Manchin the “roadblock”
But others in Manchin’s party don’t seem to agree. During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the West Virginia Democrat was pressed on how he’d respond to fellow Dems who characterize him as one of the “main roadblocks” to advancing their agenda.
Manchin didn’t mince words.
“I’m not a roadblock at all,” the senator said, as Fox reported. “I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or basically this democracy of ours or the republic that we have.”
Eroding the rules?
Manchin went on to say that while the House of Representatives was “designed to be hot as a firecracker,” the Senate is different. “We were designed to cool it off, and that’s the Founding Fathers. It was a brilliant strategy they looked at, so why can’t we try to make this work?” he said.
Like Manchin, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has also expressed opposition to ending the filibuster, as Fox notes, similarly earning her the ire of her Democratic colleagues in Washington and beyond.
“When you have a place that’s broken and not working, and many would say that’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to erode the rules,” Sinema said in an interview earlier this month, according to The Hill. “I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together, which is what the country wants us to do.”