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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?

Go deeper

Manchin says he's not willing to abolish filibuster over Jan. 6 commission

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday he is not willing to abolish the legislative filibuster if Republicans block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which they are set to do within hours.

Why it matters: Manchin — a crucial moderate swing vote — has blasted GOP leadership over the Jan. 6 commission and said "there is no excuse for any Republican to vote against" the bill. But his view has still not changed on eliminating or altering the filibuster, even if it prevents his party from passing key legislation.

May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer's litmus test

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is forcing Republicans into a corner as he tries to pass his China-focused global competition bill.

Why it matters: It's important by itself but also seen by the left as a test for whether Democrats can work with the GOP on anything. If it fails to gain support, it would likely endanger future bipartisan efforts — including infrastructure talks — for the remainder of the 117th Congress.

May 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Missed deadlines hint at long congressional summer

Sen. Tim Scott. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deadlines are hard to keep in a 50-50 Senate.

Driving the news: Members are gearing up to leave town Friday for a weeklong recess, having missed nearly every deadline they set for some of President Biden's biggest legislative priorities. The chamber's precarious balance of power is a big reason.