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Manchin vows that he won't vote to kill filibuster 'under any condition'

Manchin vows that he won't vote to kill filibuster 'under any condition'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he won't vote to kill the filibuster "under any condition," drawing a hard line against mounting pressure from progressives.

Manchin, speaking to reporters in the Capitol, reiterated that he does not support going "nuclear" to gut the 60-vote legislative filibuster and indicated that there was no timeline where, if Republicans blocked legislation, he would change his mind.

“I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It's not who I am," Manchin said.

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Asked how long he was willing to give Republicans to cut a deal on an organizing resolution, Manchin said he had "no time guidelines," and that he thought GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE (Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRon Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-N.Y.) could "make it work."

"I am not for busting the filibuster," Manchin said.

His comments are the latest indication that Democrats do not have the votes to nix the 60-vote legislative filibuster, despite intense pressure from progressive groups, outside activists and a growing number of Democratic senators who support the idea.

Supporters of doing away with the 60-vote legislative hurdle warn that keeping it intact blocks legislation on a wide swath of issues including climate change, democracy reform and voting rights. With the filibuster in place, Democrats will be forced to use reconciliation, a budget tool that allows tax and spending bills to pass by a simple majority, which is limited.

To go "nuclear" — change the rules by a simple majority — Democrats would need every vote in their 50-vote caucus, and several have signaled that they are leery of changing the rules. 

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In addition to Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has long been viewed by supporters of nixing the filibuster as opposed to taking the step.

Sinema's office made it clear on Monday that she is still not supportive of nixing the filibuster after The Washington Post incorrectly suggested that she might be open to the move. 

Sinema is "against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster," a spokesperson told the Post.

The fate of the filibuster has been under a spotlight for the past week after McConnell insisted that an agreement on preserving it be included in the Senate's organizing resolution. The demand brought talks with Schumer over a power-sharing agreement to a halt.

Democrats have rejected McConnell's push to include language in the organizing resolution.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal MORE (R-Texas), a close ally of McConnell's, suggested on Monday that statements from Manchin and Sinema could make it less important that language on the legislative filibuster is included in the power-sharing deal.

“It sounds to me like there’s some progress being made, with some of the statements that are being made by Sen. Sinema and others so I’m a little bit more optimistic that that will get worked out," Cornyn told reporters.