Moderate Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Sunday that he “made no commitment or promises” on reforming the Senate filibuster, as the Democratic Party pushes amending or abolishing the filibuster to pass two election overhaul bills currently sitting in the Senate.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin was asked by Baier whether he supports filibuster reform. “[T]here’s another push for voting rights and changing the filibuster in some way to get voting rights reform through. Are you open to changing either the rules or the structure of the filibuster to do that?” Baier asked.
“Well, first of all, voting, just voting is the bedrock of democracy,” Manchin began. “We should all be concerned about that, Bret. It shouldn’t be Democrat or Republican. As an American, and the democracy and the freedoms we enjoy, becomes because we have an open process of electing our officials, and believing, and making sure it’s secured. So we should be working on that together.”
“And next of all, if you can make the Senate work better — the rules are something we’ve changed over the years; 232 years, there’s been rule changes, but there’s never been a change with the filibuster, the rights of the minority,” Manchin said.
“And I made no commitments or promises on that. I am working on trying to make the Senate work better, bringing bills to the floor, amending them, having debates, understanding, being transparent to the public, what we agree or disagree [on].”
“So, the 60-vote threshold stays,” Baier ascertained.
“The 60-vote threshold stays under what you’re proposing, maybe some exemptions or reforms. Is that what I’m hearing?” he asked again.
“What you’re hearing is basically, can we work on the rules that make this Senate work rather [than] the deadlock that we have right now?” Manchin responded. “Everyone thinks the end-all do-all is basically in the filibuster. It’s basically in how we operate and proceed every day of the Senate, which we’re not doing. That’s what needs to be changed.”
Manchin made headlines earlier in the interview when he said definitively that he would not vote for the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” social spending bill. The Daily Wire reported:
“You’re done? This is a no?” Baier pressed.
“This is a no on this legislation,” Manchin repeated, adding, “I have tried everything I know to do and the president has worked diligently, he’s been wonderful to work with, he knows I’ve had concerns and the problems I’ve had and — you know, the thing we should all be is directing our attention towards the variants, the COVID that we have coming back at us in so many different aspects and different ways, it’s affecting our lives again. We have inflation that basically could harm — really harm a lot of Americans and especially those who are most needy and having a hard time struggling right now. So I think that’s where attention needs to be directed towards immediately — and this is been going on for five and a half months.”
Senate leadership reportedly gave up on passing the bill after Manchin maintained his opposition in interactions with the press several times during the week. The Senate adjourned its session for the rest of the year Saturday.