Moderate Democrat Joe Manchin has declared that he will not to eliminate the filibuster – a move which could potentially dash President Biden’s chances of passing progressive legislation in the Senate.
Manchin, who serves as a senator for West Virginia, made the declaration in an op-ed published in The Washington Post Thursday, claiming that killing the filibuster would lead to more political partisanship and government dysfunction.
Currently, Republicans can filibuster (ie. obstruct or delay) legislation they are vehemently against and force reconciliation, which requires 60 senate votes.
Considering the senate is currently split 50-50 (with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote) most Democrats are eager to kill the filibuster, which would mean they could then pass legislation with a simple majority of 51.
However, Manchin says the decision to do so would only divide the country deeper, asserting that the filibuster makes it possible for Democrats and Republicans to eventually find compromise.
Moderate Democrat Joe Manchin has declared that he will not to eliminate the filibuster – a move which could potentially weaken President Biden’s legislative agenda in the Senate
‘Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues,’ he wrote in he op-ed.
‘Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats.’
Manchin says that while killing the filibuster might help Democrats push through radical policies now, it will similarly help Republicans to pursue their own controversial agenda next time they take control.
‘Working legislation through regular order in the senate prevents drastic swings in federal policymaking. Voting rights reforms, instituting health-care protections and changes to the federal tax code and business regulations take time to implement on the state and local levels. If the filibuster is eliminated… a new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping, partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation every time there is a change in political control,’ he wrote.
‘The consequences will be profound — our nation may never see stable governing again.’
President Biden has previously expressed support for the filibuster, but now appears as if he might change his mind
With the senate split at 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote
In the past, Manchin has twice voted against weakening the filibuster.
In 2013, he voted against Democrat-led initiative to change senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Cabinet-level nominees and federal judges. However, the initiative passed, and now a nominee only needs 51 senate votes to assume a Cabinet position.
Meanwhile, in 2017, Manchin also voted against a Republican-led initiative to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Supreme Court nominees used to need 60 votes for confirmation if any senator objected, but Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed the rules in 2017 to allow the confirmation of justices with just 51 votes.
Manchin was not impressed.
‘Every time the Senate voted to weaken the filibuster in the past decade, the political dysfunction and gridlock have grown more severe,’ he wrote.
‘The political games playing out in the halls of Congress only fuel the hateful rhetoric and violence we see across our country right now. The truth is, my Democratic friends do not have all the answers and my Republican friends do not, either. This has always been the case.’
Manchin says that while killing the filibuster might help Democrats push through radical policies now, it will similarly help Republicans to pursue their own controversial agenda next time they take control
Meanwhile, President Biden has previously expressed support for the filibuster, but now appears as if he might change his mind.
Last month, during his first press conference, he was quizzed about the issue.
‘The filibuster has been abused from the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last 20 years,’ he stated.
However, he later added: ‘Our preoccupation with the filibuster is totally legitimate, but in the meantime we’ve got a lot we can do while we’re talking about what we’re going to do about the filibuster.’
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk