West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin again vowed that he would not vote to alter the filibuster as the Senate prepares to vote on changing the rule Wednesday night.
“I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin said. “The filibuster plays an important role in protecting our democracy from the transitory passions of the majority and respecting the input of the minority in the Senate.”
“For those who believe bipartisanship is impossible, we have proven them wrong. Ending the filibuster would be the easy way out. I cannot support such a perilous course for this nation when elected leaders are sent to Washington to unite our country by putting politics and party aside,” he added.
Manchin’s floor speech came during dozens of remarks Wednesday amid a debate on Democrats’ voting bills. The Senate is set to vote on them later Wednesday, and plans to vote on altering the filibuster after their all-but certain failure.
Though Manchin gave his explicit support for the twin pieces of legislation, he lamented how divided the chamber has become and how Democrats have resorted to pushing for the filibuster’s abolishment to pass their priorities.
Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are the only two Senate Democrats who have repeatedly stated their opposition to striking the filibuster. Their opposition all but ensures that the nearly two-centuries-old rule will remain, since Republicans are unanimously opposed to abolishing it as well.
Manchin during his speech also spoke out against what he said was an insufficient effort to work to achieve bipartisan voting reforms, criticizing the “behind the scenes, partisan negotiations [and] back-and-forth talking through each other, around each other but not to each other.”
His remarks were consistent with what he has said throughout the past year, since Democrats gained both the White House and majorities in Congress. He invoked how many of his Democratic colleagues had changed their stance on the filibuster in recent years, and said that the fact that he had not done so was not an excuse for the attacks on him in recent months.
“Some of the senators have changed their positions,” Manchin said, referring to his fellow Senate Democrats. “I have not. I respect that this is a two-way street. I respect that you have changed your position on this. I would hope that you would respect that I have not and I have never wavered on this..
“I will not attack the contents of the character of anybody who’s changed their position,” Manchin later added, defending his opposition to “allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority” and warned that doing so would only worsen the nation’s deep divisions.
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