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Sen. Joe Manchin says scrapping filibuster won’t make Senate ‘better’ in new Biden blow


Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin insisted again Tuesday that he does not support getting rid of the Senate’s legislative filibuster, undercutting President Biden hours before he is expected to call for changes to chamber rules in order to ease the passage of two sweeping election reform bills.

“We need some good rule changes to make the place work better, but getting rid of the filibuster doesn’t make it work better,” Manchin (D-WV) told reporters.

“We need some good rules changes and we can do that together, but you change the rules with two-thirds of the people that are present, so it’s Democrats and Republicans changing the rules to make the place work better,” he reiterated. “Getting rid of the filibuster does not make it work better.”

Manchin and fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are facing increasing pressure from Democratic leaders to support making an exception to the 60-vote threshold for the two bills, which are intended to counter laws enacted by Republican-led states that critics say make it harder to vote.​

Sen. Joe Manchin has repeatedly expressed his anger at fellow Democrats and said that the change to the senate rules must be bipartisan.
Sen. Joe Manchin has repeatedly expressed his anger at fellow Democrats and said the change to Senate rules must be bipartisan.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Sen. Joe Manchin's statements come as another blow to Biden mere hours before he is expected to call for changes to chamber rules.
Sen. Joe Manchin’s statements come as another blow to President Biden.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has shifted focus to the election legislation after Manchin came out against Biden’s nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill last month.

Schumer has vowed that a vote on changing the Senate’s rules will take place by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a gambit that is expected to fail due to opposition by Manchin, Sinema and potentially other Democratic senators.

Manchin has discussed potential rule changes that would not fully eliminate the 60-vote hurdle with a group led by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Angus King (I-Maine), but no agreement has yet been reached. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has also expressed her unwillingness to conform to vote along party lines.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has also expressed her unwillingness to conform to vote along party lines.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Republicans have condemned the election bills and Schumer’s efforts to scrap the filibuster as part of a naked power grab by Democrats.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) noted Tuesday that New York voters recently rejected ballot measures to allow for same-day voter registration and the creation of no-excuse absentee balloting, which are included in the federal legislation.

“New Yorkers just rejected two of those proposals in a public referendum,” she told The Post. “They were rejected by double digits and here he [Schumer] is pushing for these changes on the federal level.”



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