Sen. Joe Manchin says he “can’t imagine” supporting making an exception to Senate filibuster rules in order to pass the Democrats’ wide ranging elections and campaign finance reform bill, which is a top priority for his party.
“I can’t imagine a carve-out,” the moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia said on Sunday during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked if he could back such a move.
The filibuster, a longstanding Senate tradition requiring 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to advance a bill, effectively allows the minority party to block certain legislation. The Senate is currently evenly split 50/50 between the two parties, with the Democrats holding a razor-thin majority due to the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris through her constitutional role as president of the Senate.
But the Democrats are nowhere close to obtaining the 60 votes needed to quash a filibuster. They don’t even have the simple majority needed to eliminate the legislative filibuster rule. Manchin and fellow moderate Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are opposed to the push by lawmakers from the left of their party to scrap the filibuster.
Senate Republicans in June used the filibuster to successfully down the Democrats voting rights bill, which is a top item on their agenda. Democrats are pushing for the reforms as a response to the moves by 18 states where Republicans control the state government to pass into law measures tightening voting access rules. Republicans argue the moves are to bolster voter integrity but Democrats charge the new laws are voter suppression tools.
Manchin, in explaining his opposition to a filibuster exemption for voting rights, pointed to past carve-outs.
“I was here in 2013 when it was called a carve-out, we’re just going to do the cabinet for the President, and then it went into we’re going to do the judges who are lifetime appointments for circuit and district,” the senator said.
“They really want to do Supreme Court, but they didn’t at that time the Democrats were in control. 2017, (Senate GOP leader) Mitch McConnell’s in control, comes right back in and guess what, that carve out worked to really carve us up pretty bad. Then you got the Supreme Court, okay, so there’s no stopping it,” Manchin emphasized.