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Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., visited the White House Thursday evening amid a debate over changes to the filibuster and a stall in the Democrats‘ efforts to pass legislation that would increase the federal role in elections.
Both Manchin and Sinema, who met with President Biden for over an hour early Thursday evening to discuss voting rights, earlier in the day stated they will not vote to weaken the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold.
A change to the filibuster would require support from all Senate Democrats. With recent opposition from Manchin and Sinema, it seems unlikely those changes will be implemented.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” Sinema said. “This week’s harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year.”
Sinema’s comments mirrored her longtime stance on the filibuster and delivered a blow to her colleagues who were hoping to pass the legislation without support from Republican senators.
Similarly, Manchin said in a statement that “there has been broad bipartisan support for protecting the filibuster, including current and former members of the Senate.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) delivers remarks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. November 1, 2021. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
“Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel onto the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart – especially when one party controls both Congress and the White House,” Manchin said. “As such, and as I have said many times before, I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
The West Virginia senator also said the filibuster “plays an important role in protecting our democracy from the transitory passions of the majority and respecting the input of the minority in the Senate.”
Following a meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday evening, Biden said he is “not sure” that Democrats will be successful in passing legislation to takeover elections at a federal level.
U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters after meeting with Senate Democrats in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on January 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.
“First of all, don’t ask questions about complicated subjects like, ‘Can you get this done?'” Biden told a crowd of reporters. “I hope we can get this done. The honest to God answer is, I don’t know whether we can get this done.”
The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday morning combining the measures: The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. But it won’t get 60 votes in the Senate, which is split 50-50 on party lines.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this article.