Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer clearly doesn’t have the votes to abolish the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for most legislation (or even change the rules governing the filibuster) with a simple majority. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin tells Politico: “We need some good rules changes. We can do that together. But you change the rules with two-thirds of people present. So, Democrats and Republicans changing the rules to work better.”
Manchin has long been open to making some rules changes — such as switching to a “talking filibuster” — but he’s always insisted on making those changes through the Standing Rules of the Senate, which establish a threshold of two-thirds of senators present and voting to change the rules.
Senate Democratic leaders are nevertheless telling reporters that they intend to attempt to change the rules with a simple-majority vote:
Sen. Durbin, Democratic whip, tells reporters it’s his understanding that there will be a vote on possible rules changes despite long odds
“It’s important people be on the record”
“It’s my understanding there will be a vote at some point”
Unclear which proposal will get vote
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) January 10, 2022
It’s hard to see Schumer’s decision to hold a failed vote on the “nuclear option” as anything other than an attempt to placate the progressive base.