Democratic Senator Joe Manchin suggested he’s open to making use of the filibuster by the minority party more “painful.”
Manchin (WV) made the comments during an interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
Wallace asked the senator – viewed as a moderate Democrat – if lawmakers should consider “reforming the filibuster” if “Republicans just won’t go along with anything.”
“The filibuster should be painful. It really should be painful,” Manchin replied.
“We’ve made it more comfortable over the years, not intentionally, [maybe] it just evolved into that. Maybe it has to be more painful,” he added.
Joe Manchin tells Chris Wallace that while he supports the filibuster, he thinks “it should be painful” if senators want to use it pic.twitter.com/7g3t6Vys32
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 7, 2021
Does Manchin Still Support The Filibuster?
In another interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Manchin continued to express his support for the filibuster using the same ‘painful’ terminology to suggest reforming it.
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“If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”
The filibuster is designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill. Ending debate requires the agreement of three-fifths (60) of Senators, or in today’s Congressional makeup – 10 Republicans would have to join the majority party.
WATCH: Sen. Manchin tells @chucktodd, “I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster.” #MTP@Sen_JoeManchin: “I’ll change my mind if we need to go to a reconciliation … But I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also.” pic.twitter.com/rzDnE18rTA
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 7, 2021
Josh Marshall, the editor of the far-left Talking Points Memo, notes that discussion of filibuster ‘reform’ as Manchin is doing by couching it as ‘saving’ the procedure is a key talking point for Democrats seeking to combat it.
“Key from Manchin. Filibuster reformers have been saying consistently that change will only come if it can be packaged as ‘saving’ the filibuster by ‘reforming’ it,” he writes.
“And as you can see here that’s exactly where Manchin goes.”
Key from Manchin. Filibuster reformers have been saying consistently that change will only come if it can be packaged as “saving” the filibuster by “reforming” it. And as you can see here that’s exactly where Manchin goes. pic.twitter.com/HbVUZKkQwe
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 7, 2021
Where Will It Come Into Play?
Manchin, along with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), has come out against the filibuster on several occasions, but his waffling on this and other matters has to be a concern to Republicans.
He’s even struggled with staying consistent on the filibuster itself.
“I’m interested in listening to anything because the place isn’t working,” said Manchin last summer.
It’s hard to gauge the sincerity of a man who takes so many contradictory positions.
“Joe Manchin wants to make filibuster ‘painful’ to use” At least Manchin is now for filibuster reform and open to old rule that if you filibuster you need to stand up and talk to fill the time. https://t.co/8SByIil1Cf via @politico
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) March 7, 2021
Cries for the filibuster to be eliminated were most recently seen when the Senate Parliamentarian determined that a minimum wage increase “was not compliant with budget reconciliations rules,” and thus couldn’t be passed as part of the Democrat’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.
Additionally, as The Hill reports, “there are bigger tests awaiting Senate Democrats as the House sends them a growing number of bills that likely can’t pass with the filibuster intact.”
They cite as an example the so-called Equality Act – a piece of legislation critics say would institute discrimination against religious beliefs while being extremely detrimental to women’s rights.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently criticized Sinema and Manchin for opposing eliminating the filibuster.
“When they come to understand the futility of what we’re engaged in. We can’t even consider serious issues because of the Senate rules, and they have a different point of view,” Durbin said.
Different points of view are exactly what the Democrat party is seeking to eliminate.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, explains why ridding the Senate of the filibuster would be unwise.
“Any rule that makes it easier for Senate leaders to end debate and block the amendment process will lead to less transparency, rushed debate, and a diminution of Senators’ rights to participate in the legislative process,” they write.
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