May 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New wedge against Manchin

Joe Manchin
Sen Joe Manchin talks to reporters about his support for a Jan. 6 commission while walking down a hall of Dirksen Senate Office Building yesterday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republican opposition to a commission to investigate the Capitol riot provides a new wedge for Democrats to pressure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to soften his opposition to changing the filibuster rule. A Senate vote on the commission, expected Thursday, was pushed back to Friday.

Why it matters: Manchin is furious that Republicans aren’t supporting the commission. And some Democrats hope that the issue will cause him to yield on his opposition to ending the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes for a bill to pass.

  • In this 50-50 Senate, that means 10 Republicans. Under a simple majority, with Vice President Harris breaking the tie, Democrats would be able to pass parts of the Biden agenda — on voting rights, climate and more — that otherwise would die in the Senate.

So far, he hasn't been willing to act on that. Asked Thursday if he would vote to end the filibuster if Republicans blocked the commission, Manchin replied: "I'm not willing to destroy our government, no."

  • But he followed that by saying he was hopeful enough Republicans would come around: "You have to have faith there's ten good people."

If that doesn't happen, Democratic leaders will be able to argue to him that Republicans aren't acting in good faith.

  • The problem for progressive outside groups is they have plenty of money to pressure Manchin. But they can't make credible threats against a unique Democrat in an extremely Trumpy state.

Go deeper: What's the Senate filibuster and why change it?

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