‘We’ve Harmed the Senate Enough’: Why Joe Manchin Won’t Budge on the Filibuster

Q: The Democratic Party thought it could take back the Senate this year, and there’s still a chance that maybe that can happen if you get both of the seats in Georgia. But in order to pass major legislation, you would have to either get some Republican support or kill the filibuster. You’ve long opposed killing the filibuster. Why is that?

A: I can assure you I will not vote to end the filibuster, because that would break the Senate. We’ve harmed the Senate enough with the nuclear option on the judges. We’re making lifetime appointments based on a simple majority. The minority should have input — that’s the whole purpose for the Senate. If you basically do away with the filibuster altogether for legislation, you won’t have the Senate. You’re a glorified House. And I will not do that.

Q: So there’s no issue where you would agree to end the filibuster? Let’s say there’s a badly needed new coronavirus stimulus package, and the Republicans won’t make a deal.

A: No. If we can’t come together to help America, God help us. If you’ve got to blow up the Senate to do the right thing, then we’ve got the wrong people in the Senate, or we have people that won’t talk to each other. You know, I’ve always said this: Chuck Schumer, with his personality, he’ll talk to anybody and everybody. You can work with Chuck. Chuck is going to try everything he can do to try to engage with Mitch again.

Q: Are there any other issues where you would draw a line in the sand and stand up to other members of your party?

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A: I’ve done that. I was that one vote for Brett Kavanaugh. I thought there had to be evidence, and I never saw evidence. The country was in a feeding frenzy. And there was no Democrat that was going to buck that. I said, ‘I’m not going to ruin a person’s life because there’s no evidence.’

And wouldn’t it be so befitting if he votes to uphold the Affordable Care Act? God, oh my. Redemption! Is there redemption here? He and I had a long conversation, and I basically said, ‘I’m pleading with you and your inner conscience, whenever this comes before you, I want you to think about 800,000 West Virginians who couldn’t get insurance before because of a pre-existing condition. I want you to think about 160,000 West Virginians that were so poor, they had nothing.’



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