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Politics: Joe Manchin Signals He's Open to Filibuster Reform, Offering Hope to Democrats

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.

Joe Manchin wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on Capitol Hill June 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Manchin suggested he would be opening to reforming the filibuster on a private call this week. © Drew Angerer/Getty Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on Capitol Hill June 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Manchin suggested he would be opening to reforming the filibuster on a private call this week.

Sen. Joe Manchin is signaling he may be open to reforming the filibuster, offering hope to Democrats who are eager to push their legislative agenda through Congress without the 60 votes currently required by the Senate rule.

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.

Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure

  Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure Manchin dashed hopes on the left that recent events might compel him to reconsider his support for keeping the Senate's 60-vote rule to pass bills.The moderate Democrat, in a Sunday op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, not only revealed his opposition to the Democratic-backed For the People Act but reiterated he won't vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.

In remarks obtained by The Intercept, Manchin said he would consider lowering the threshold to beat the filibuster or forcing the minority to show up on the Senate floor in large enough numbers to maintain a filibutser.

"That's one of many good, good suggestions I've had," the senator said about lowering the cloture total from 60 to 55.

"I looked back...when it went from 67 votes to 60 votes, and also what was happening, what made them think that it needed to change. So I'm open to looking at it, I'm just not open to getting rid of the filibuster, that's all," he added.

Prior to these comments, Manchin has been a staunch opponent of eliminating the filibuster, a move most Democrats have supported in hopes of advancing legislation in the narrowly divided chamber.

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

  Joe Manchin said in 2011 that the US was 'paralyzed by the filibuster' but is now blocking efforts to change it In a 2011 press release, Manchin said that senators wanting to halt bills should turn to "sustained debate" rather than the filibuster.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.

While the senator has expressed frustration that Senate Republicans have refused to vote on certain bills, like the one that would create a commission on the January 6 Capitol riot, Manchin has maintained that gutting the filibuster would "destroy our government."

Earlier this month, Manchin explicitly stated in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail he "will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster."

His remarks during the Monday zoom, however, suggests he may be open to making amendments to the filibuster so that Democrats would require fewer votes to passing legislation.

"Right now, 60 is where I planted my flag, but as long as they know that I'm going to protect this filibuster, we're looking at good solutions," he said on the call.

"I think, basically, it should be [that] 41 people have to force the issue versus the 60 that we need in the affirmative. So find 41 in the negative...I think one little change that could be made right now is basically anyone who wants to filibuster ought to be required to go to the floor and basically state your objection and why you're filibustering and also state what you think needs to change that'd fix it, so you would support it. To me, that's pretty constructive," Manchin added.

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  Joe Manchin's U.S. Chamber of Commerce sure loves Joe Manchin. Is that why his op-ed on voting bill echoed their talking points? Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) heads to a vote in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The spotlight on Sen. Manchin grew even brighter after declaring that he will vote against the Democrats voting rights bill, the For the People Act, in his op-ed that was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail over the weekend.

Democrats have struggled to pass a number of key pieces of legislation without a supermajority vote.

Their most recent efforts to pass the sweeping voting bill For the People Act (H.R. 1) have stalled due to the cloture, as well as a lack of support from Manchin, who has argued that the bill is too wide-ranging.

On Monday, the senator told participants of the No Labels call he's been clear with his colleagues on the changes he would like to see made on H.R. 1, which include preserving same-day registration and the ability to purge voter lists—objections the senator had not previously stated explicitly.

"So at least I'm saying I'm against it for this reason, and here's the things I think can make a piece of legislation better. I think we all should do that. We should be responsible for that," Manchin said.

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for comment but did not hear back before publication.

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Joe Manchin says he will vote to PASS voting rights bill in the Senate .
Joe Manchin agreed Tuesday to vote with his fellow Democrats to begin debate on the voting rights bill - but 10 Republicans would still need to hop on board to progress the legislation. 'Today I will vote 'YES' to move to debate this updated voting legislation as a substitute amendment to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and participate in our great democracy,' the West Virginia centrist Democrat said.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: 'We worked it out.

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