Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) vowed to oppose ending the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court in a Monday interview on Fox News, two actions many Democrats have called for over the past several months.
Former president Obama has voiced support for ending the filibuster as a “Jim Crow relic” even though he himself used it to stall the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito in 2006. During and after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October, progressive Democrats pressured more moderate colleagues to support packing the court, or expanding the number of justices on the bench.
However, Manchin promised in his interview with Bret Baier not to support potentially drastic moves by other Democrats. The comments were significant because if the Republican senators from Georgia are both defeated in runoff elections, the Senate will likely be tied at 50-50. In that case, Manchin would be able to scrap initiatives by simply withholding his support.
“I commit to you tonight, and I commit to all of your viewers and anyone else who’s watching…when they talk about packing the courts, or ending the filibuster, I will not vote to do that,” Manchin said. “Brett, this system, this Senate is [such a] unique body in the world. It was made to work together in a bipartisan way, and once you start breaking down those barriers, then you lose everything.”
Manchin also denounced support by members of his own party for efforts to “defund the police” and even to institute Medicare for All, which he said was practically impossible to pay for.
“I’m a proud moderate conservative Democrat. Maybe there’s not many of us left but I can tell you what this country wants is moderation,” Manchin said. “It was wrong for this many people to be split, for us not to be able to have a mess that didn’t scare the bejeezus out of people and when you’re talking about basically the Green New Deal and all this socialism, that’s not who we are as a Democratic Party.”
The West Virginia senator has stuck with Democrats on a number of key issues, including voting for President Trump’s impeachment and against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. However, Manchin broke with Democrats to vote for Senator Tim Scott’s police reform bill, and also voted to confirm Trump nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Court.