Manchin’s staunch opposition to ending filibuster puts Biden’s agenda in jeopardy

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., heads to a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee listening to on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 21, 2021.

WASHINGTON – Much of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda could also be in peril after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., doubled down on his opposition to overhauling the filibuster, jeopardizing every little thing from the president’s objectives on voting rights and immigration reform to gun management and infrastructure.

The reasonable Democrat, in an op-ed Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, not solely revealed his opposition to the Democratic-backed For the People Act however reiterated he will not vote to weaken or remove the filibuster.

Manchin dashed hopes on the left that current occasions may compel him to rethink his help for retaining the filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote rule to carry laws to a vote that can be utilized by the minority social gathering – in this case Republicans – to block laws. Republican-controlled state legislatures proceed to enact voting restrictions, and Republican U.S. senators final month blocked the creation of a fee to examine the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, which drew the disappointment of Manchin.

“Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a progressive Democratic from New York, said in an interview Monday on CNN, referring to the Republican Senate chief’s stop-at-all-costs strategy to former President Barack Obama’s agenda and now Biden’s. “Manchin is not putting us closer to bipartisanship. He is doing the work of the Republican Party.”

More: Joe Manchin will oppose For the People Act, putting Senate’s voting rights bill in peril

For Biden and Democrats, the ramifications of Manchin ruling out adjustments to the filibuster are important. It means Democrats would want the help of a minimum of 10 Republicans to cross most payments in a Senate break up 50-50 between Republicans and Democratic caucus members.

That consists of discovering Republicans to cross an infrastructure package deal at the same time as weeks of negotiations with a gaggle of Republican senators have not resulted in a deal. Although Manchin supported utilizing a procedural transfer often called funds reconciliation to cross Biden’s COVID-19 rescue plan in March with solely help of Democrats, he has indicated he desires a bipartisan compromise on infrastructure.

A complete immigration invoice Biden despatched to Congress on the president’s first day of office most likely has no likelihood below filibuster guidelines. Democrats can have an uphill climb to discover 10 votes to cross gun laws requiring background checks or to ban assault weapons. And Manchin’s opposition to the For the People Act – which might successfully override GOP voting restrictions on the state stage – leaves the invoice with no majority of help in the Senate.

“It’s a real blow,” mentioned William Howell, a political scientist on the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, pointing to Biden’s proposals on local weather change, immigration and tax will increase on firms as areas now extra probably to fail. “The immediate setback concerns the sheer number of policy initiatives that now don’t stand much of a chance of becoming law. There aren’t prospects for meaningful change legislatively now.”

Howell mentioned Biden will likely be in a place to pursue some issues administratively or by way of govt motion, “but the ambition we saw with the Biden agenda has been kneecapped by this.” He mentioned the results transcend what Biden can accomplish to a extra basic query: Can the federal authorities nonetheless work to remedy huge issues?

“Here, too, this is a setback because it’s hard to see how we make headway on democracy reform as long as the legislative process is just mired in gridlock.”

White House claims good relationship with Manchin

Manchin’s op-ed got here after Biden final week singled out the senator and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. – one other reasonable Democrat who has defended the filibuster – when Biden lamented on the struggle to pass parts of his agenda. Manchin’s reasonable politics have enabled him to win elections in conservative West Virginia, even because the state turns overwhelmingly Republican, however puts him regularly at odds with different Democrats in Washington.

More: Biden singles out Senate Democrats Manchin and Sinema, White House downplays remarks

The outsized function of Manchin was on show at Monday’s White House information briefing when press secretary Jen Psaki was peppered with questions on Manchin’s opposition to overhauling the filibuster and passing the For the People Act. His title was talked about 17 occasions.

“We’re certainly not ready to accept that analysis,” Psaki mentioned of Manchin posing an impediment to Biden’s agenda, calling the senator “a friend” of Biden’s and vowing to proceed to work with him. She mentioned the White House is in “close touch” with Manchin on infrastructure and different points commonly.

President Joe Biden on June 5, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

President Joe Biden on June 5, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

In his op-ed opposing the For the People Act, Manchin mentioned laws searching for to shield the precise to vote shouldn’t be handed on social gathering traces, arguing “partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”

Manchin didn’t criticize specifics of the invoice, which might loosen picture identification guidelines to vote, require a bipartisan fee to oversee congressional redistricting and shield early voting and mail voting, amongst a bunch of different measures. The invoice, opposed universally by Republicans, handed the Democratic-controlled House in March.

Progressives rapidly blasted Manchin. Ben Jealous, president of the left-leaning People For the American Way, mentioned Manchin was “misguided and misinformed” for opposing the For the People Act, arguing it has bipartisan help from American voters.

“His demand for Senate Republican support ignores the fact that the far-right-dominated Republican Party in Congress will not negotiate in good faith and has proven it over and over, most recently in their opposition to creating a bipartisan January 6 Commission.”

White House not conceding on For the People

Civil rights leaders together with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, met with Manchin Tuesday on voting rights. The group referred to as the gathering “productive” and mentioned they conveyed to Manchin {that a} “minority of senators must not be able to abuse the filibuster to impede much-needed progress.”

Despite Manchin’s opposition, Psaki mentioned, the president helps the For the People Act and wouldn’t concede that the laws is useless.

More: What you should know about W. Va. Sens. Manchin and Capito

“Now in terms of the path forward, and what that looks like and the mechanics of how it moves forward in Congress, the president is quite open and willing to work with anyone to enact common-sense reforms that benefit the American people,” Psaki mentioned. “We will stay lockstep with Democratic leadership on what that looks like from here.”

Instead of passing the invoice’s Senate model of the For the People Act, Manchin argued the higher chamber ought to cross a bolstered model of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which might reinstate the 1965 Voting Rights Act with some extra provisions. Passing it seems a extra lifelike possibility for Democrats.

Biden may additionally discover a bipartisan victory with policing reform as talks proceed after the killings of unarmed African Americans sparked nationwide racial justice protests final yr. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., wrote laws the House handed in March with provisions comparable to banning choke holds and making a nationwide database of police misconduct. She has been negotiating with Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., to attain a compromise that would cross the Senate on contentious questions comparable to permitting civil lawsuits in opposition to police.

The talks missed Biden’s casual deadline for a compromise by May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s demise. But lawmakers on either side have mentioned the negotiations are productive and have a casual purpose to end in June.

‘Several paths’ stay for infrastructure, White House says

As for infrastructure, negotiations proceed to drag between a gaggle of Republican senators and the White House with no deal in sight. Biden rejected a modest $50 billion enhance to the GOP’s proposal on Friday. The president lowered his package deal to $1 trillion in new spending, however the hole stays important. Republicans’ $978 billion supply consists of about $300 billion in spending. Biden was set to converse with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., lead negotiator for Republicans, earlier than he departs Wednesday for Europe.

“We have several paths,” Psaki mentioned Monday. “That’s the good sign.”

One of these paths, she mentioned, stays negotiations with the group led by Capito. A second path is infrastructure laws that House Democrats are set to start drafting Wednesday. She pointed to proposals from different members of Congress as a 3rd route. Manchin is working with a bipartisan group of senators on infrastructure that features Sinema and Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio.

More: Biden offers to keep 2017 Trump tax cuts intact in infrastructure counteroffer to GOP

Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, mentioned the specter of a filibuster shouldn’t shock the White House provided that Manchin by no means expressed help for eliminating it. She referred to as getting 10 Republicans to again lots of the president’s priorities a “pretty daunting challenge “

She mentioned Manchin is probably going to face extra strain from the left to help passing Biden’s infrastructure package deal utilizing reconciliation if talks with Republicans fizzle.

“Right now, I think Manchin still thinks that there’s hope there are places where there can be compromise,” she mentioned. “In the next few weeks, I think it’s going to be clear whether that’s actually true. If they’re able to eke out a deal on infrastructure, then I think Manchin will feel justified.”

The White House wouldn’t say whether or not it has an settlement with Manchin that he would help reconciliation on infrastructure if negotiations fail.

“I’m certainly not going to speak on behalf of where Senator Manchin is,” Psaki mentioned, calling it “positive signs” that he has expressed curiosity in main investments in infrastructure and openness to elevating the company tax fee. “We’ll let him speak for himself on where he stands on any pieces of legislation.”

Contributing: Bart Jansen. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article initially appeared on USA TODAY: Manchin’s continued opposition to filibuster threatens Biden’s agenda

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