Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Sunday that while he opposes eliminating the Senate filibuster, he is open to reforming the practice of imposing a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to make it more “painful” for the minority party to block legislation.
“The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “Maybe it has to be more painful.”
During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, he suggested requiring senators to filibuster by talking on the chamber floor to hold up a bill.
“If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”
He said he is “not going to change my mind” on eliminating the filibuster, though a number of more progressive Democrats have called to do so.
As a moderate Democrat who does not always vote along party lines, Manchin has taken on new power in the evenly divided Senate.
Manchin did not, however, rule out using budget reconciliation to pass Democrats’ sweeping voting and election reforms package, H.R. 1, which narrowly passed the House on Wednesday with no Republican support. The budget reconciliation process, which Democrats just used to pass their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, allows legislation to bypass a filibuster and pass with just a simple majority, instead of needing to meet the 60-vote threshold.
However, budget reconciliation is used for budget-related legislation and it is unclear how Democrats would use the process to pass their voting bill.
“I’m not willing to go into reconciliation until we at least get bipartisanship or get working together or allow the Senate to do its job,” Manchin said.
“I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” he added.