VP Kamala Harris urged Dems this week to seize the “opportunity” to push voting reform, disparaging the Senate filibuster and hinted that the measure should be removed. But Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.) immediately tossed cold water on this idea.
The Biden White House and Democratic Party leaders were pressuring moderate Dems — such as Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — to remove the Senate filibuster, thereby allowing Dems to force through Joe Biden’s agenda unencumbered by democratic constraints.
But a huge problem, aside from recalcitrant Dems, stands in front of them: the 2022 midterms. Almost all election forecasts show that Democrats’ will lose control of Congress in November. Harris recognized this reality in her speech in Atlanta this week.
What did she say?
Accusing GOP members of exploiting the terrible “arcane rules” — a trite reference to the U.S. Senate filibuster, a mechanism that Dems and the GOP both have used as way to block one-party rule — VP Harris pushed lawmakers to act on voting reforms.
“We don’t know when we will have this opportunity yet again,” she said. “Senate conservatives have exploited arcane measures to block these bills.”
“And let us be certain: The Constitution gives the Congress the power to enact legislation. And nowhere does it give the minority a right to unilaterally stop legislation,” she added.
How did Manchin respond?
Talking to reporters this week, Manchin restated his support for the filibuster, yet another sign that he refused to give in under pressure from his Dem. colleagues.
“We must have some good rule changes to make the place better. But removing the filibuster does not make things work better,” Senator Manchin said.
“The filibuster is what makes the U.S. Senate hopefully work when it is meant to work.”
The news narrative would have you believe that Sinema and Manchin are the lone wolves stopping the Democratic Party’s agenda, but Politico published a story about other moderate Dems that don’t outright support removing the filibuster, either.
In fact, Politico mentioned four more Democrats — Senators Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) — as examples of the “type of views and leftist hesitance” to fundamentally alter Senate rules.