WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin reiterated his opposition to eliminating the filibuster on Wednesday, dimming hopes for changing the contentious rule.
In an opinion piece published in Wednesday in The Washington Post, Manchin, D-W.V. cautioned against ousting the voting procedure to keep the majority party from bypassing minority opinion in enacting legislation.
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote.
The West Virginia senator also signaled that he may oppose the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation such as President Joe Biden’s landmark $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
A key Senate official ruled Monday that Senate Democrats could use the budget process for more legislation, according Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office. Vice President Kamala Harris would then be able to break a tie vote.
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate. How is that good for the future of this nation?” Manchin wrote. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues. Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats.”
Under the filibuster, the Senate requires a 60-vote minimum to end a debate before a simple majority can pass a bill.
The Senate stands at a 50-50 party split, meaning bills that have passed in the House — such as the For the People Act — may face the filibuster in the Senate.
Manchin cited retired Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid’s attempt to get rid of the procedure in 2013 and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., proposal to end debate on Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority as measures that weakened the filibuster to the country’s detriment.
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is one of the few members of Manchin’s party who sharesi his views. Manchin’s announcement is at odds with other Democrats, including Biden. Last month, the president expressed concerns about abuses of the filibuster to hamper legislative progress.
Manchin acknowledged the weaknesses of the filibuster in his statement but advocated for bipartisan cooperation over eradicating the procedure.
“Every time the Senate voted to weaken the filibuster in the past decade, the political dysfunction and gridlock have grown more severe,” Manchin 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.”