Joe Manchin Makes GOP Panic With Filibuster Declaration On ‘Meet the Press’

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During an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) suggested that, despite his opposition to the total elimination of the filibuster, he would support the idea of changing how the filibuster operates. The filibuster is a Senate procedural mechanism that allows members of the minority party to band together and block legislation from moving to a vote. Under current Senate rules, legislation requires 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to move to a vote, so if at least 41 Senators band together against moving forward, they can stop the process.

The present demand for the agreement of at least 60 Senators before moving to a vote on most legislation makes policy-making difficult. The procedure also currently allows Republicans to wield power against Democratic legislation, even though they’re the minority. Manchin suggested that he’d be open to ideas including a change demanding that a Senator “stand there and talk” if they want to block legislation, rather than getting a chance to vote against moving to a vote and be done with it.

As the Senator put it:

‘Can you imagine not having to sit down, when there’s no reason for you to sit down with your colleagues on both sides and have their input? The Senate is the most unique body of government in the world. It’s deliberate. It’s basically designed to make sure the minority has input… And now if you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk, I’m willing to look at any way we can. But I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.’

Read Manchin’s remarks by clicking on the post below:

Manchin was a key player in the recent and eventually successful struggle to get a COVID-19 economic relief plan passed in the Senate. As CNN explains, after hours of negotiation right in the middle of the process of dealing with the relief legislation, Manchin “finally agreed to extend $300 weekly unemployment benefits through September 6, about a month earlier than what Democrats had envisioned,” and he also forced a limitation on a tax break for unemployment assistance recipients to households with yearly incomes of under $150,000.

The relief legislation was passed via a process called budget reconciliation, which allows certain bills to proceed to a vote with just 51 votes from within the 100-member chamber, but only a strict selection of legislation is eligible for that process. Because the Senate is currently 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote in Democrats’ favor as needed, Democrats could not lose support from a single member, meaning that Manchin had to be onboard.