Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin threw cold water on the idea that he might support a one-time suspension of the filibuster to pass voting reform legislation.
Manchin told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that he did not see a path forward for what some advocates are calling a “carveout” — a special exception to the 60-vote threshold — to pass the sweeping overhauls to federal election laws contained in HR-1. Manchin has also said several times that he did not support passing HR-1 along party lines, arguing that it would only serve to further divide the country. (RELATED: Senate Republicans Employ Filibuster To Tank Democrats’ Sweeping Voting Bill)
“I will not do anything, Jake, to separate our country further,” Manchin began, repeating his position on passing new voting rights legislation along party lines. He warned that a massive overhaul could run into trouble or even be overturned in court.
“I know you want it to be bipartisan,” Tapper replied, adding, “But I don’t know how possible that is. The only Republican I’ve heard talk about this in a positive way is Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.”
“Is there any circumstance under which you could imagine allowing a carveout for the — I know you oppose getting rid of the filibuster,” Tapper pressed, pointing out the fact that some had pushed for a one-time suspension of the filibuster. “Can you imagine ever doing that?”
“Jake, I can’t imagine a carveout because I was here in 2013,” Manchin said, arguing that history dictated any such move would likely backfire when Republicans were in control.
“We’re just going to do the cabinet for the president and then it went into we’re going to do the judges, who were lifetime appointments for circuit and district, and they were even going to do Supreme Court but they didn’t at that time. The Democrats were in control,” Manchin explained.
He also said, “In 2017 Mitch McConnell’s in control, comes right back in and guess what, that carveout worked to really carve us up pretty bad.”
Manchin concluded by saying that ensuring the minority a voice in the Senate forced politicians to work together, and that was a tradition he intended to uphold.