West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has been put under enormous pressure since previously announcing he would not support so-called “filibuster reform.” Democrats, including Joe Biden, are salivating at the prospect of blowing up the process to push through bills they claim are just too important to allow the minority party input on. But in a 50/50 Senate, Manchin, a Democrat, holds an incredible amount of power in deciding what will and won’t happen going forward.
In a new op-ed, Manchin reiterated his opposition to blowing up the filibuster, addressing the issue in no uncertain terms. But more importantly, he also signaled that he’s not down with abusing the reconciliation process as a way to go around the filibuster.
Joe Manchin op-ed in the Washington Post not only confirms “there is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” it also seems to pour cold water on Schumer’s proposed reconciliation games. https://t.co/DwwFtaPBRH pic.twitter.com/GMW8Cs3npr
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) April 8, 2021
Here are some excerpts from The New York Post.
“I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt,” Manchin, a moderate, wrote in a op-ed published in The Washington Post on Wednesday.
“There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” he wrote.
There was concern that Manchin could go wobbly on this issue. It appears he’s drawing a line in the sand and sticking to it. To do anything otherwise would seal his fate in West Virginia, where he’s already facing a contentious re-election bid down the road after only winning by 3 points the last go around.
His commentary on reconciliation is more important, though. If Manchin is a no-go on letting Schumer push through the “infrastructure bill” (which is anything but), then that effectively kills the effort without major concessions by the White House to try to pick up GOP votes. Kyrsten Sinema has also signaled she may not be down with that approach, further putting it in peril.
At this point, it seems extremely unlikely Manchin would go back on his word. Perhaps after the first few times he said it, you could be skeptical, but he keeps reiterating his stand in a way that would doom him politically if he flipped now. That won’t stop an activist, obsessed media from continuing to question him about it, but it should stop Chuck Schumer from living out his wildest dreams via massive spending bills and federal takeovers of the voting system.