President Joe Biden directly blamed Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona for refusing to blow up the filibuster in Friday remarks ahead of a meeting with blue-state governors addressing abortion access.
Both Manchin and Sinema have repeatedly made clear that they will not vote to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for ending Senate floor debate for most legislation. The two voted down an attempt to do so in January, with Sinema arguing that lowering the number of votes needed to pass legislation would increase political division. Biden issued a new call for a filibuster “exception” on Thursday, although such a move would effectively eliminate the procedure entirely.
“Congress is going to have to act to codify Roe into federal law. As I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of our ability to do that. But right now, we do not have the votes in the Senate to change the filibuster at the moment. That means we need two more votes now. Well not now, when we vote, probably after November,” Biden said Friday.
Tune in as I convene a virtual meeting with Governors to discuss efforts to protect access to reproductive health care. https://t.co/Pv3Vc02fLg
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 1, 2022
“More senators and a House majority elected in November to get this bill to my desk. So the choice is clear: we either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe, or Republicans will elect the House and Senate and will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November,” he continued.
Biden’s comments were an apparent reference to the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would legalize abortion nationwide up to the moment of birth and eliminate conscience protections for doctors and nurses who refuse to perform the procedure. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in September 2021, but Manchin joined all 50 Republicans in voting against it in May. (RELATED: Liberals Reignite Their Outrage At Manchin, Sinema As Calls To Abolish Filibuster Percolate)
The president added that his administration would work to block red states from implementing abortion restrictions, noting proposals that would prohibit women from crossing state lines to access abortion, and limit them from accessing abortifacients such as mifepristone.
“Last week, I announced two specific actions. First, there are extremist governors that plan to stop a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking medical help she needs, to a state that provides that care, the federal government will act to protect her bedrock rights through the Attorney General’s office. Second, states try to block a woman from getting medication the FDA has already approved, that has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act to protect that woman’s right to that medication,” Biden continued.
Some prominent Democrats have proposed that the Biden administration offer abortions on federal lands. Such a move would likely violate the Hyde Amendment, which generally prohibits the federal funding of abortion.