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Politics Joe Manchin said in 2011 that the US was 'paralyzed by the filibuster' but is now blocking efforts to change it

15:16  09 june  2021
15:16  09 june  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

Joe Manchin offers little comfort to frustrated Democrats

  Joe Manchin offers little comfort to frustrated Democrats The riddle of Joe Manchin is going to drive his fellow Democrats to distraction. The senator from West Virginia, who sits at the fulcrum of Washington's balance of power, signaled in a new CNN exclusive interview that he's nowhere near ready -- yet -- to loosen a grip that is stalling President Joe Biden's ambitious agenda.The senator from West Virginia, who sits at the fulcrum of Washington's balance of power, signaled in a new CNN exclusive interview that he's nowhere near ready -- yet -- to loosen a grip that is stalling President Joe Biden's ambitious agenda.

Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Joe Manchin. Samuel Corum/Getty Images © Samuel Corum/Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is blocking a voting-reform bill because it has no GOP support.
  • In defending his stance, Manchin also said he opposed Democratic plans to reform the filibuster.
  • But in 2011, Manchin had called to reform the filibuster himself, saying it "paralyzed" the US.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Sen. Joe Manchin said a decade ago that US politics had been "paralyzed by the filibuster" but he is now blocking attempts to reform it.

Manchin is currently the only Democratic senator refusing to back the For the People Act, a sweeping voting-rights bill that would cancel many GOP-led voting restrictions at the state level. It passed the House with no Republican Party support, and its chances of passing the Senate have been destroyed due to Manchin's opposition.

Joe Manchin to Oppose For the People Act, Says Partisan Voting Legislation Will Further 'Destroy' Democracy

  Joe Manchin to Oppose For the People Act, Says Partisan Voting Legislation Will Further 'Destroy' Democracy "Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen," the West Virginia Democrat wrote.Manchin wrote an opinion article published by the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, explaining why he plans to vote against the For the People Act and continues to oppose ending the filibuster. Biden and Democratic leaders have called for the passage of the major voting rights bill as Republicans in state legislatures across the country have pushed forward election changes that Democrats and activists have characterized as voter suppression.

In a Sunday op-ed announcing his opposition to the legislation, Manchin also reaffirmed his support for the filibuster. "I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster," he wrote in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

However, Manchin has previously called for it to be reformed.

In October 2011, Manchin told the Charleston Daily Mail that the filibuster was preventing cooperation between parties. A copy of the article is listed on Manchin's official Senate website.

"We have become paralyzed by the filibuster and an unwillingness to work together at all, just because it's an election cycle," Manchin said at the time.

And in December, he said in a press release that to make Congress function better, the US needed to "fix the filibuster" by making senators debate bills properly.

Mondaire Jones Says Manchin Op-Ed Might as Well Be Titled 'Why I'll Vote to Preserve Jim Crow'

  Mondaire Jones Says Manchin Op-Ed Might as Well Be Titled 'Why I'll Vote to Preserve Jim Crow' The West Virginia Democratic senator has come under fire for refusing to support the For the People Act following an op-ed he wrote for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.In the Sunday op-ed, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia said he was against the legislation because it had not garnered any Republican support. He felt a resolution for changes in voting rights should be reached with agreement from both parties.

"If senators want to halt action on a bill, they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate; end filibusters on motions to proceed to debate," he wrote at the time.

Democratic lawmakers have long discussed abolishing the filibuster, a rule that requires that a bill pass by at least 60 votes in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50 between the two parties. Senate Democrats would need to abolish the rule to move the voting-rights legislation forward with no GOP votes.

Joe Manchin wearing a suit and tie: Manchin. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Manchin. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sawyer Hackett, the executive Director of the Democratic PAC "People First Future," was first to point out the existence of Manchin's 2011 posts on Twitter.

Despite his past criticism of the filibuster, Manchin has been resolute in his defense of it this year.

In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, Manchin reiterated his claim that he couldn't support the bill without bipartisan support, and that he couldn't back the abolition of the filibuster.

Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin

  Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin Sen. Joe Manchin's defiant statement that he will not vote for a sweeping election reform bill nor vote to get rid of the filibuster has progressive groups and some Democratic lawmakers wondering when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will get tough with the West Virginia Democrat.Manchin is a member of Schumer's leadership team and Schumer has several points of leverage, including the power to replace him as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But Schumer doesn't have a reputation for getting tough with colleagues. Instead, he keeps them close and hardly ever criticizes Democratic senators who cause him headaches.

"Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support," Manchin wrote.

"They've attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past."

In a Fox News Sunday appearance, Manchin disagreed when host Chris Wallace asked him if he was "being naive" about bipartisan cooperation.

The For the People Act mandates that states widen voter registration, increase voting initiatives, and reform some campaign finance and ethics laws.

Manchin cosponsored that same bill in 2019, when it also had no GOP backers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Joe Manchin Signals He's Open to Filibuster Reform, Offering Hope to Democrats .
On a private call on Monday, Manchin suggested he would be willing to change the Senate rules so Senate Democrats could pass legislation with fewer than the 60 votes currently required by the filibuster.On Monday, Manchin joined a private Zoom call hosted by No Labels, an operation that combats partisan dysfunction and funnels donor money to conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans, to discuss the filibuster, infrastructure negotiations and the failed efforts to create a January 6 commission.

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