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NBC: Five, Maybe Seven, Democratic Senators Currently Oppose Abolishing the Filibuster

Senator Joe Manchin speaks with an aide during a break in the impeachment trial of President Trump in Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

At NBC News, Julie Tsirkin and Sahil Kapur confirm what has been obvious for a while: That it’s not just Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema who oppose abolishing the legislative filibuster.

And it isn’t just Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who oppose rewriting the rules of the Senate. The two moderates have been the most vocal, but it’s the worst-kept secret in Washington that they are not alone.

Several other Democrats have indicated in interviews that they are reluctant to kill the filibuster or that they prefer to make “reforms” — Washington-speak for maintaining a supermajority to pass bills, even if changed a bit from the current filibuster rules.

It’s a harsh reality for progressives — both inside the Senate and outside — who had hoped their party might be provoked into nuking the filibuster and approving legislation with a simple majority.

Among the other Democrats who currently oppose abolition outright are Senator Kelly of Arizona, Senator Hassan of New Hampshire, and Senator Hickenlooper of Colorado. In addition, both Senator Feinstein of California and Senator Leahy of Vermont have stayed notably quiet.

Tsirkin and Kapur note that “progressives hope if they can convince Manchin and Sinema, the other skeptics won’t be a problem.” But this seems like wishful thinking to me. The bill that is supposed to prompt the final showdown, HR.1, doesn’t actually have 50 votes in the Senate. This being so, by what theory does Senator Manchin choose to go back on his longstanding word in order to facilitate a vote on a bill that he himself has confirmed he opposes?

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