Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the chamber’s top GOP member, had been standing in the way of a power-sharing agreement with his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), over the latter’s refusal to dismiss calls from within his caucus to abolish the filibuster.
After a pair of Democratic senators made it known that they would never support ending the filibuster, however, McConnell relented on his demand and pressed forward with a proposal to govern amid a 50-50 split between the two parties.
“No Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities”
The filibuster, a longstanding procedural tool that benefits the minority party by requiring a 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation, has been targeted by a number of Democrats in recent months.
Nevertheless, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reiterated their opposition to such a move, prompting a brief statement by McConnell on Monday.
“Today two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster,” he said. “They agree with President [Joe] Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation.”
The Republican leader went on to call the filibuster “a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001.”
Given the assurances of Sinema and Manchin, McConnell said he looks “forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.”
“Our friends across the aisle must see the same”
According to Politico, Manchin left little room for interpretation in his statement to reporters on Monday.
“If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Sen. McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you,” he said, explaining that he “will not vote in this Congress” to end the filibuster.
When pressed about whether he might change his mind, Manchin clarified: “None whatsoever that I will vote to get rid of the filibuster.”
Meanwhile, a Sinema spokesperson said the Arizona Democrat remained “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.”
Although Democrats used the maneuver to block prior GOP proposals in the Senate, McConnell expressed appreciation for the statements by Manchin and Sinema, adding: “Republicans understood you don’t destroy the Senate for a fleeting advantage. Our friends across the aisle must see the same.”