In what represents a serious blow to the legislative hopes of his far-left colleagues, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) declared on Sunday that he “can’t imagine” putting his support behind a possible exception to the upper chamber’s filibuster rules in order to pass sweeping voting rights legislation current under consideration, as The Hill reports.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union program, Manchin was asked specifically about such a prospect, and he flatly stated, “I can’t imagine a carve-out,” or exception, to the rules that would currently require Democrats to marshal at least 60 votes for the massive election bills championed by liberals in his party in order to secure their passage.
The Senate currently stands at a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, and though the latter party enjoys the advantage of having a tie-breaking vote in Vice President Kamala Harris, who also serves as president of the upper chamber, an inevitable GOP filibuster of the federal takeover of elections nationwide would pose an insurmountable obstacle to their plans.
Given that the Democrats are certainly unable to obtain the necessary 60 votes to pass the election bills — they do not even have sufficient support to eliminate the filibuster altogether — far-left members of the party are looking for ways to accomplish through rule changes and fiat what they cannot do through persuasion, but Manchin remains uninterested, as Fox News noted.
Pointing to previous instances in which filibuster carve-outs were used, Manchin expressed precisely why he does not believe them to be an appropriate solution to the current impasse, suggesting that while they may be politically expedient at one point in time, they can come back to to haunt the same people who wanted them in the first place.
“I was here in 2013 when it was called a carve-out, we’re just going to do the cabinet for the President, and then it went into we’re going to do the judges who are lifetime appointments for circuit and district,” he explained.
The senator continued, “They really want to do Supreme Court, but the didn’t at that time the Democrats were in control. 2017, [Senate GOP leader] Mitch McConnell’s in control, comes right back in and guess what, that carve out worked to really carve us up pretty bad. Then you got the Supreme Court, okay, so there’s no stopping it.”
This is certainly not the first time Manchin has thrown a wrench into his colleagues’ plans to force legislation that lacks widespread popular support. He has long been one of two main holdouts against Democrat calls to abolish the filibuster rules altogether, joining with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in taking that stand.
What so far has appeared to be a principled commitment from Sens. Manchin and Sinema to preserve the filibuster rules even in the face of intense pressure from inside their own party has, unsurprisingly, drawn the ire of far-left colleagues such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who on Sunday said it was “naivete” driving the belief that Democrats can “out-organize” so-called voter suppression efforts she thinks would be halted with the election overhaul currently being proposed.