Manchin has resisted efforts to eliminate Filibuster for months, but the benevolent impatience to kill it has only intensified.
With the required 60-vote limit in the 50–50 Senate, Republicans blocked a bill to set up a commission to study the January 6 uprising, positioned to block election legislation, infrastructure talks. Gave the advantage of a negotiation in the U.S. and ensured that Biden has no room for error when it comes to his nomination — including a possible appointment to the Supreme Court.
In case anyone missed the message, Manchin said: “I believe that partisan voting laws will destroy the already weak bonds of our democracy, and for this reason, I am against the For the People Act. I will vote. Also, I will not vote to weaken. Or eliminate filibuster.”
But whether or not anyone will listen to Munchkin’s call for bipartisanship on voting is another question entirely. Republicans don’t see congressional Democrats’ inability to act on the voting as nothing less than a green light to proceed in state houses.
To be sure, liberals hope that Munchkin will kill filibusters—and convince other skeptics like Democratic Sen. Kirsten Cinema of Arizona to come along—as the voting rights bill was a long shot to begin with. Manchin didn’t seem close to resisting filibuster over the past few months — yet the “what if” questions never stopped.
Munchkin remains at the center of Democratic efforts to build a bridge with Republicans over the infrastructure law, where if a bipartisan deal cannot be reached, talk is urgent about passing legislation to get around the 60-vote limit. Goes back only with Democratic support.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Maine Independent Sen. Angus King on Sunday pointed to the ongoing bipartisan effort to advance science and technology grants as “a good example of how we can work together.” did.
Still, the final barometer of a Congress state, Raja said, is infrastructure.
“I think the infrastructure bill is a good test because, listen, there’s not a lot of policy out there. It’s just numbers,” King told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s helping the country and we should be able to find a solution on that. If we can’t, it causes trouble.”
How far can infrastructure talks go?
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touted White House efforts on bipartisan talks that include GOP senators like Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Mitt Romney of Utah. But as the White House always said, they don’t want things to go on forever – while not setting a fixed deadline.
“Ultimately, we have to get 10 Republican votes to be able to pass it in regular order,” Granholm said. “That’s the hope.”
But as with everything in the Senate, it comes back to Manchin. Granholm visited West Virginia last week and said the Democratic senator appreciates the need for the bill.
“I know he sees the faces of those who need these investments as well. And that is – in the end, he represents a state that needs to be able to move forward economically and these investments Will help his state,” Granholm said. “You have to ask them where their bottom line is and how long we have to try to be able to get Republican support.”
For his part, Munchkin insisted Sunday that he supports the president and wants to stay on course.
“I believe Joe Biden is the right person, right place, right time for our country,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Now we have to unite together and that means a little bit of difficulties and challenges, but we will overcome it. We are the most intentional bodies in the world and that was by design.”
He said that the fruits of the talks have already been received.
“My goodness, the president has come down from $2.25 trillion to $1 trillion,” he said, “that Republicans have come a long way from where they started.”
Voting Rights and the Big Lie
Munchkin not only targeted congressional Democrats this weekend. He also went after Republicans in state houses, seemingly following former President Donald Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election imposing voting restrictions.
The senator reiterated his support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is a much less comprehensive bill than the Democrats’ majority support. It would roll back key pieces of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that included a provision requiring states to consult with the federal government before making major changes to their voting rules.
Munchkin’s overall veto, however, maintains the status quo of the voting wars.
Trump, who introduced the “Big Lie” that millions of votes were illegally cast for Biden, has no intention of stopping his crusade.
Adam Bozzi, vice president of communications for End Citizens United/Let America Vote, said, “We’re all going to intensify our campaigns to make the case in the Senate that it’s time for the people to pass the Act in one way or another. Needed.” The group plans to contact 2 million voters as part of a $30 million campaign ahead of this month’s Senate vote.
CNN’s Fredreca Schouten, Devan Cole, Ellen Graff, Daniela Diaz and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.