Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reaffirmed his stance against his fellow Senate Democrats on Sunday, saying he’s “not going to change” his position on the filibuster.
Manchin appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked by host Chuck Todd about the filibuster and if he believed it should be possible to “pass election-related bills” with a 50-vote majority, similar to the budget reconciliation process. (RELATED: ‘This Power Can Be Temporary’: Joy Reid Asks If It’s ‘Worth Pursuing Bipartisanship’ Instead Of Forcing Legislation Without Republicans)
“What you saw happen with that 50-vote swing and one vote, no matter who it may be, can make a big difference in a tied Senate, can you imagine doing day-to-day operations this way? Can you imagine not having to sit down, where there’s no reason for you to sit down, with your colleagues on both sides and have their input?” Manchin responded.
He explained that the “Senate is the most unique body of government in the world” and that “it’s basically designed to make sure the minority has input.” He added that he’s willing to look at things “anyway we can,” but that he’s “not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”
Todd then told Manchin that he “didn’t directly answer” his question on a “reconciliation route for election-only bills like H.R. 1.”
“I’m not willing to go into reconciliation until we … allow the Senate to do its job. Just by assuming that, ‘hey, they’ll never work with us, that’s the other side, this is tribal, Republicans will never agree on anything, or Democrats will never agree,’ I don’t subscribe to that,” Manchin said. “There’s no need for us to go to reconciliation until the other process has failed. That means the normal process of a committee, a hearing, amendments, Chuck, and that’s where I am.”
Todd followed up, saying it sounded like Manchin would change his mind if “Republicans continue to be unified in opposition.”
“I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster. I’ll change my mind if we need to go to a reconciliation, to where we have to get something done, once I know they have process into it. I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say, also,” Manchin answered.
“I’m hoping they’ll get involved to the point to where we have 10 of them that will work with 50 of us, or 15 of them that will work with 45 of us … I’m for that,” he concluded.
Senate Democrats have floated the idea of getting rid of the filibuster rule, which would allow legislation to pass with a simple majority, rather than a 60-vote majority. In addition to Manchin, Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also expressed her opposition to scrapping the rule.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, also known as the “For the People Act,” on Mar. 4. It largely includes legislation involving federal election laws. Many Republicans, and others, have expressed concern over the contents of the bill. It will now head to the Senate, and is expected to face opposition from Senate Republicans.