Sen. Joe Manchin has just crushed President Biden’s hopes yet again – telling reporters on Tuesday that the Democrat’s “Build Back Better” agenda, is deader than ever.
While reports from mainstream media surfaced on Sunday that Manchin was resuming negotiations on the president’s $1.9 trillion reconciliation package, the West Virginia senior told reporters the massive tax and spend plan was most certainly still dead.
“I’m not agreeing to any of this,” Manchin said about changes to the package the media reported. “There’s been no conversations” with the White House.
Manchin reiterated his December position: “I feel as strongly today as I did then.”
“I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better … there is no negotiation going on at this time,” Manchin continued, according to a Politico reporter.
Another Democrat Senator, Dick Durbin, on Tuesday reportedly acknowledged Biden’s agenda is dead – at least until Senate Democrats attempt to pass legislation to federalize all local elections.
In order to federalize all local elections, the senate would need at least 60 “yes” votes in a 50/50 split Senate. GOP senators rightfully oppose federalizing elections. Therefore Senate Democrats have proposed doing away with the filibuster, which would mean the measure could pass with 50 Senate votes.
But Manchin told reporters Tuesday canceling the filibuster to only federalize elections is a “heavy lift” and is not his “absolute preference.”
When asked whether he opposes changing Senate rules or invoking the “nuclear option” to remove the legislative filibuster.
“[I’ve] always been for rules [changes] being done the way we’ve always done them, two-thirds of members voting, and any way you can do a rules change to where everyone is involved, and basically that’s a rule that usually will stay, that’s what we should be pursuing. [We’re] still having ongoing conversations as far as voting because I think the bedrock of democracy is making sure that you’re able to cast a vote. If you’re legal, of age, and a United States citizen, you should be able to cast a vote, and it should be counted accurately. So we’re talking about those things there,” Manchin said.
Asked by another reporter to confirm that he was open to the idea of using the nuclear option to reform the filibuster in order to pass the Democrats’ voting rights legislation by simple majority, Manchin was noncommittal, and indicated that it would be difficult for him to get on board. “[Being] open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift,” Manchin said.
Pressed by another reporter, Manchin reiterated his concerns. “The need for us to protect democracy as we know it, and the Senate, as it has operated for 232 years, are extremely, extremely high bars that we must be careful if we’re willing to cross those. So, I’m talking. I’m not agreeing to any of this. … I want to talk and see all the options we have open,” he said.
Manchin’s opposition of the filibuster change throws another serious wrench in Biden and the Democrats’ plans to force things through congress.
Author: Lewis Tatmin