Manchin draws line against repealing legislative filibuster

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a prominent centrist, on Tuesday clarified that he would oppose any effort to get rid of the Senate’s legislative filibuster though he expressed he is willing to consider other ideas to reform the rules to get the chamber working again.

“I have never supported a repeal of the filibuster and I don’t support one now. I am willing to consider solutions that promote collaboration so the Senate is able to be a productive body again. But repealing the filibuster would result in even more partisanship,” Manchin tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Manchin clarified his position after saying last week that he was open to listening to ideas by colleagues such as Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who want to scrap the filibuster as part of an overhaul of chamber rules.

Manchin said last week he is willing to listen to proposed rules changes.

“I just heard they started talking and I’m interested in listening to anything because the place isn’t working. I just heard about it this morning,” Manchin said at the time when asked about proposals to reform the Senate’s filibuster rule.

“I’m open-minded on everything. The place isn’t working,” he said.

Manchin said last year that he was opposed to scrapping the filibuster, which requires senators to muster 60 votes to advance legislation outside the special budgetary process known as reconciliation, which allows spending and tax bills to pass with simple majorities.

“I would hope that they would not ever, ever consider doing away with the filibuster, which is basically the whole premise of the Senate,” he told The Hill in July 2019.

If Manchin is a hard no on eliminating the 60-vote threshold for passing most legislation, it means the filibuster has a good chance of surviving for another Congress, even if Democrats win the White House and recapture the Senate majority.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said last week that he is firmly opposed to getting rid of the 60-vote requirement to pass controversial legislation.

“I think that would be a huge mistake,” King said.

“If we didn’t have the 60-vote rule today, the ACA would be gone,” he added, referring to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. “Medicaid would be severely compromised.”

But there are also powerful proponents in the Senate Democratic conference who say the filibuster should be abolished if Republicans try to obstruct presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s agenda, if he were to win the presidency.

“If the Republicans think that they are going to be able to hold up the actions that need to be taken in this country by using the filibuster then they’re wrong. We’re going to have to fight them,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told The Hill last week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Democratic colleagues Tuesday to think very carefully before signing onto the push to scrap the filibuster.

“If there are any responsible Democratic senators left who aren’t going to be stampeded by the hard left, they ought to take a pause and think about whether they really think it’s a good idea for the country to put the one institution that guarantees that America stayed in the middle of the road into the same place as the House,” he told reporters.

Updated: 10:28 p.m.

Tags Angus King Elizabeth Warren Filibuster Jeff Merkley Joe Biden Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell
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