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“I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
“Throughout the last decade or more, there has been broad bipartisan support for protecting the filibuster, including current and former members of the Senate,” Manchin noted.
“Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel onto the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart – especially when one party controls both Congress and the White House,” Manchin continued. “As such, and as I have said many times before, I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
Manchin said the filibuster “plays an important role in protecting our democracy from the transitory passions of the majority and respecting the input of the minority in the Senate.”
“Ending the filibuster would be the easy way out,” he concluded.
A change to the filibuster would require support from all 50 Senate Democrats. With recent opposition from Manchin, and another moderate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., that seems unlikely.
Manchin’s comments came after a meeting between President Biden and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. During the meeting, Biden was slated to make a push for the passage of two pieces of legislation that are a part of Democrats‘ election reform effort. Both would require suspending or eliminating the filibuster and its 60-vote threshold to have a chance at passage.
Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have said they don’t want to undo the filibuster. (Getty Images/Reuters)
“First of all, don’t ask questions about complicated subjects like can you get this done,” Biden told a crowd of reporters. “I hope we can get this done. The honest to God answer is, I don’t know whether we can get this done.”
The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday morning combining the measures: The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. But it won’t get 60 votes in the Senate, which is split 50-50 on party lines.