Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said on Wednesday that there were “no circumstances” in which he would vote to eliminate filibuster, possibly putting an end to hopes for some of the president’s most ambitious legislative initiatives Joe Biden.
“Systematic obstruction is an essential tool to protect this contribution and our democratic form of government,” Manchin wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “The time has come to end these political games and usher in a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the great political debates facing our nation.”
Democrats hold a narrow margin in the Senate, with 50 lawmakers and Vice President Kamala Harris as the deciding vote. Filing requires 60 votes to pass most laws in the Senate, which means votes from all Democrats and 10 Republicans are needed to pass any major policies.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Also said that she opposed the elimination of the filibuster.
Biden has expressed support for filibuster reform, calling it a relic of the Jim Crow era, although he has widely insisted that it become more difficult to use. The president said he would support a rule change that would require lawmakers to physically stand in the Senate and speak.
While Manchin’s stance will jeopardize many potential democratic priorities, including gun control legislation, the party scored a victory this week after the Senate parliamentarian said lawmakers could use a process called budget reconciliation several times a year to advance major spending and tax bills with a simple majority.
Biden’s latest major policy, a $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, could pass without any Republican backing using such a maneuver. The President expressed his willingness to negotiate the scope of the package, saying he was “open” to GOP ideas.
“Compromise is inevitable,” Biden said Wednesday. “We will be open to good ideas in good faith negotiations. But this is what we will not be open to: We will not be willing to do nothing. Inaction, quite simply, is not an option. “
Manchin said he was open to discussions on filibuster reform just a few weeks ago, telling “Meet the Press” that he would be prepared to consider procedural “exceptions” that could allow the adoption of certain measures by simple majority. But those openings are over, the senator said.
“Every time the Senate has voted to weaken the filibuster over the past decade, the political dysfunction and the stalemate have become more serious,” Manchin wrote on Wednesday. “The political games taking place in the halls of Congress only fuel the hateful rhetoric and violence that we are currently seeing in our country.”
This is a developing story. Please come back for updates.
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