Manchin backs filibuster amid calls to codify abortion rights

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) defended the filibuster on Tuesday as some members of the Senate Democratic Caucus called for nixing the 60-vote hurdle in order to codify abortion rights. 

Manchin declined several times on Tuesday to address a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that guarantees a right to the procedure. 

But asked about getting rid of the filibuster, Manchin defended it, saying that “the filibuster is the only protection we have in democracy.”

“We’ve protected women’s rights with the filibuster,” he added. 

Manchin is one of two Democratic senators who have largely defended the 60-vote hurdle required for most legislation to pass the Senate. 

He and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted against an effort by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democratic colleagues in January to weaken the Senate’s filibuster rule to allow voting rights legislation to pass.  

Sinema also defended the filibuster on Tuesday, saying that “protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women’s access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever.”

The draft Supreme Court ruling immediately sparked calls from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others to nix the filibuster. But to do that would require total unity from all 50 Democratic senators — support they don’t have.

To pass legislation codifying Roe without eliminating the filibuster, they would need 60 votes, meaning support from 10 Republicans. 

The Senate also previously rejected a broad bill to guarantee abortion access earlier with year, with Manchin voting with Republicans

Tags Abortion abortion rights Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Filibuster filibuster reform Joe Manchin Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Roe v. Wade Samuel Alito

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