More Democrats Are Skeptical Of Killing The Filibuster

(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Two more Senate Democrats have expressed skepticism of killing the filibuster to pass left-wing legislation.

New Hampshire Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen do not endorse completely eliminating the procedure, CNN reported Thursday. They join Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in their opposition to the move.

“I don’t think getting rid of [the filibuster] is the best approach,” Shaheen said, although “I think we should look at ways to reform the filibuster.”

Hassan also has “concerns about eliminating the filibuster,” but would be open to some reforms, according to a spokesman. Neither senator explained what those reforms would be.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) speaks at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration Committee hearing March 3, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

Hassan is up for reelection in 2022, and Republicans are targeting her seat for a pickup. Senate Republicans are hoping to draft Gov. Chris Sununu to run against Hassan, Fox News reported in February. “I am open to it. We haven’t completely shut the door,” Sununu said.

Sinema and Manchin have repeatedly said that they are not interested in eliminating or watering down the filibuster. Sinema “is not open to changing her mind” on the filibuster, a spokesperson told the Washington Post in January.

“I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster,” Manchin told Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd on March 7, although he did leave open the door to using the reconciliation process to pass certain legislation. (RELATED: Manchin Says He Will Block Infrastructure Bill If Republicans Aren’t Included)

More Senate Democrats have come out in opposition to the filibuster in recent weeks, even as they previously used the tactic themselves. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who said in 2018 that eliminating the filibuster “would be the end of the Senate,” changed his mind, calling the procedure “the death grip of democracy” on March 15.

President Joe Biden, who opposed eliminating or modifying the filibuster during the Democratic primaries, has since changed his mind. It should be “what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days. … You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking,” Biden said on March 16. Senate Democrats introduced two-track legislation in the 1970s, allowing the Senate to consider other business while a bill was being filibustered. This eliminated the need for senators to hold the floor while filibustering.