Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who many consider the second-most-powerful politician in the U.S., responded emphatically on Monday when asked if he would ever wavier in his support of the procedural tool known as the filibuster.
“Never!” he said, according to a pool reporter. “Jesus Christ, what don’t you understand about never?”
Earlier this year, Manchin told the Washington Post, “I will not vote to bust the filibuster under any condition, on anything that you can think of.” He was joined by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who has said that she is not open to “changing her mind.”
Manchin’s opinion on the filibuster is important because the Senate is evenly split 50-50, with the deciding vote going to Vice President Harris. In most legislation, there needs to be a 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation to President Biden’s desk.
Progressive Democrats see the filibuster as an outdated relic that can be used by the minority Republican Party under McConnell to derail Biden’s agenda, and they want to do away with it. They point to the way the filibuster was wielded during the 20th century to stall civil rights legislation, and warn of a repeat.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell —after learning about Manchin’s and Sinema’s opinion last month– set aside his demand that a provision preserving the legislative filibuster be included in his power-sharing agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. It almost certainly means that Democrats, many of whom have said they want to get rid of the filibuster, won’t be able to do so for at least the next two years.
“Today two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster,” McConnell said at the time. “They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation.”
Fox News’ Tyler OIsen and the Associated Press contributed to this report