Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Biden, Xi talk climate at UN forum Election reform in the states is not all doom and gloom Manchin presses Interior nominee on leasing program review MORE (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said he “can’t imagine” supporting a carve-out to filibuster rules to help pass voting rights legislation.

Manchin was asked a direct question about whether he could imagine supporting such a carve-out during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

“I can’t imagine a carve-out,” Manchin responded.

He noted that in 2013, a Democratic majority backed a carve-out to the filibuster so that Cabinet appointees for former President Obama could be confirmed. That led to more carve-outs, including for the Supreme Court.

"I was here in 2013 when it was called a carve-out. We're just going to do the Cabinet for the president, and then it went into, we're going to do the judges who are lifetime appointments for circuit and district," he said.

"They were even going to do Supreme Court, but they didn't at that time. The Democrats were in control. 2017, Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China MORE’s in control, comes right back in and guess what? That carve-out worked to really carve us up pretty bad. Then you got the Supreme Court, OK, so there's no stopping it," Manchin said.

Manchin has previously said he would not vote to change the filibuster, which would stymie Democrats' chances of moving sweeping voting rights legislation at a time when GOP legislatures in states across the country are imposing tougher election laws that Democrats say will depress the vote of their supporters.

A more narrow voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHouse Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms Harris, CBC put weight behind activist-led National Black Voter Day MORE (D-Ga.) will be introduced later this week. That measure, many believe, has a better chance of winning some GOP support than the more sweeping For the People Act blocked by the Senate GOP earlier this year. 

Whether the legislation could get 10 GOP votes to overcome a filibuster, however, is unknown.