Pelosi says that she won’t ‘give up on Joe Manchin’ over his opposition to sweeping voting-rights legislation

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

  • Speaker Pelosi said that she would not “give up” on fellow Democrat Joe Manchin over voting rights.
  • Pelosi pointed to Manchin’s tenure as W.V. governor and secretary of state in gauging his thinking.
  • She said that the congressional leaders may be able to address concerns that he has with the bill.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Sunday said that she would not “give up” on fellow Democrat Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia senator who last week came out against the party’s sweeping voting-rights bill.

In an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail last Sunday, Manchin argued against the For the People Act, also identified as S.1, contending that a major election reform bill should not be passed on a party-line vote.

The legislation would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, establish national standards for voter registration, and blunt voter purges, among other things.

Manchin also reaffirmed his support for the filibuster, a position that has become anathema to many Democrats after years of legislative gridlock in Congress.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pelosi remained hopeful when it came to Manchin, despite his public statements.

“I don’t give up on Joe Manchin,” she told host Dana Bash. “When he was governor and Secretary of State in West Virginia, he initiated many of the initial ideas that are in the H.R. 1, S.1, the For the People Act.”

Read more: Here are the 17 coolest jobs available in the federal government right now. We asked experts how to snag them.

Pelosi expressed optimism in the Senate eventually passing the legislation, despite a chamber that is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans and with the filibuster still in place to potentially derail the legislation.

“I read the op-ed and you read a part of it – I think he left the door open,” she said. “I think it’s ajar. I’m not giving up.”

She added: “I do know that he has certain concerns about the legislation that we may be able to come to terms on.”

Pelosi said that she’s had a conversation with Manchin about the legislation.

In March, the House passed the For the People Act in a near party-line 220-210 vote. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi was the sole Democrat who voted against the bill, and no Republicans crossed over to support the legislation.

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Former Bush chief strategist says US needs to ‘go all in with the Democratic Party’ to ‘guard our Republic’

Matthew Dowd sits on set of Good Morning America in a black suit and red tie.
Matthew Dowd on “Good Morning America,” Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

  • The chief strategist for President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign now backs the Democratic party.
  • Matthew Dowd said people need to put aside “policy and cultural differences” and support the Democratic Party.
  • “It is the only vehicle we can trust to guard our Republic,” Dowd said, while also taking a swipe at Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign is now rooting for the political party he was once up against.

Matthew Dowd, who served as chief strategist for President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, said on Twitter Thursday he now views the Democratic Party as the only option for Americans.

“All the tribes of our nation who care about democracy need to put aside any policy and cultural differences and go all in with the Democratic Party. It is the only vehicle we can trust to guard our Republic,” Dowd wrote.

Read more: Meet the 7 BidenWorld insiders with access to exclusive White House meetings

He said the GOP “has bought into the mendacity from the mad king of Mara lago [sic],” in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump. He also said the GOP “are a party of autocracy.”

“The Democratic Party is the only path today to protect our nation,” he continued.

Prior to working for Bush, Dowd served as a senior advisor to the Republican National Committee. In 2007, he became a political contributor for ABC News, eventually becoming the network’s chief political analyst. Earlier this year he announced he was leaving ABC.

He recently appeared as a guest on MSNBC where he also criticized Republicans, saying they have a goal to “stop America’s diversity.”

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McConnell slams the January 6 commission as ‘a purely political exercise’ and accuses Democrats of focusing on ‘things that occurred in the past’

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks after a GOP policy luncheon on Capitol Hill.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell dismissed a potential January 6 commission as a “purely political exercise.”
  • McConnell contended that Democrats would like to focus on “things that occured in the past.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to force a vote on the bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that bipartisan legislation that would create a January 6 commission to examine the Capitol riot was a “purely political exercise” driven by Democrats.

The Kentucky Republican, who announced his opposition to the commission on the Senate floor last week, calling it a “slanted and unbalanced proposal,” accused Democrats of wanting to use a commission to attack former President Donald Trump.

“I think at the heart of this recommendation by the Democrats is that they would like to continue to debate things that occured in the past,” McConnell said. “They would to continue to litigate the former president into the future. We think the American people going forward, and in the fall of 2022, ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country and what the clear choice is that we have made to oppose most of these initiatives.”

He added: “I think this is a purely political exercise that adds nothing to the sum total of information.”

The GOP resistance to a 9/11-style commission examining the deadly insurrection at the Capitol imperils a deeper investigation into the siege, along with recommendations on how it can be prevented from occurring again.

Last week, after weeks of negotiations, the House passed the bill in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats to support the legislation despite vocal opposition from House GOP leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Read more: A multitude of Trump-era mysteries are poised to come roaring back into the headlines. Everyone involved is bracing for what happens after that.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is planning to force a vote on the legislation in the coming days or weeks, but with only 50 seats, Democrats would still need 10 GOP votes to overcome a legislative filibuster.

So far, Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber who have indicated support for the bill.

Senate GOP leadership has steadfastly lined up against the legislation.

In addition to McConnell’s opposition, Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota told CNN last week that a commission could undermine the GOP as it looks to next year’s midterm elections.

“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders – not relitigating the 2020 elections,” he said. “A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward.”

Trump, who in January was impeached for his role in the riot, chimed in last week to express his opposition to any future probes.

“Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” he said in a statement. “Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left.”

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Marjorie Taylor Greene said that she’s the victim of Democrat bullying when questioned about her hounding of AOC

Marjorie Taylor Green at a new member orientation
Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., arrives at the Hyatt Regency for new member orientation in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene said she is the one who is a victim of bullying, not Democrats.
  • She listed a handful of grievances on Newsmax, re-casting her taunting of AOC as “citizen lobbying.”
  • “They’re the ones that are completely out of line,” she told the rightwing network.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted to flip the script about her behavior towards political rivals on Friday when questioned about a recent video of her taunting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Speaking to Greg Kelly on right-wing network Newsmax, Greene described several encounters with Democrats that she said make her the victim of aggression, contrary to what she sees as a skewed media narrative.

“They’re accusing me of being aggressive and saying that my mannerisms are wrong,” she said. “It’s definitely the other way round.”

A screenshot of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talking to Newsmax's Greg Kelly.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talking to Newsmax’s Greg Kelly.

Greene had come under intense criticism on several occasions for confrontational behavior and support of far-right causes, most recently on Wednesday when pursuing Ocasio Cortez on Capitol Hill “screaming,” as witnesses said. On that occasion, she inaccurately said that Ocasio-Cortez supported terrorists.

Soon after that, a 2019 video emerged from before Greene was a member of Congress, showing her and far-right companions taunting Ocasio-Cortez through the New Yorker’s office letterbox, calling her a “baby” who needed to “get rid of your diaper.”

Speaking to Kelly, Greene described the act as “citizen lobbying.”

A composite of close-up cellphone screenshots showing Marjorie Taylor Greene laughing into the camera, speaking through Alexandria OCasio-Cortez' letterbox, and walking away.
Marjorie Taylor Greene in a 2019 video outside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ office.

Earlier this year, a video from 2018 emerged, showing her harassing and mocking Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg over his anti-gun stance.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments in February after multiple incidences emerged of her endorsing political violence.

Recalling that, Greene told Kelly Friday that “there was no ethics violation against me, I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Kelly was keen to build the same narrative in his interview, saying that Democrats such as Ocasio-Cortez and Eric Swalwell – who has also been critical of Greene – are “picking on you.”

marjorie taylor greene alexandria ocasio-cortez
MTG has challenged AOC to a debate on pay-per-view TV over the Green New Deal.

Greene agreed, saying, “They don’t know what to do with me because I’m not going to back down and be intimidated by their bully tactics.”

She cited several instances that she said constituted bullying from Democrats:

An altercation in January with Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, where Bush was “verbally assaulting me in the tunnels, screaming at me,” according to Greene. But when the incident was first reported, Bush said that it was Greene who berated her in the hallway after she had asked Greene to wear her mask properly.

In a live-streamed video from the tail end of the encounter, a voice can be heard shouting for Greene to put her mask on.

A standoff with Rep. Marie Newman, who in February planted the trans flag in what Greene described as “an aggressive manner” outside her own office. She also accused Newman of having “aggressively” bumped her shoulder while walking by her one time.

Newman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A video of Newman planting the flag can be seen here:

A visit from Guam’s congressional delegate Michael San Nicolas in March, during which National Guardsmen offered cookies and books to Greene’s aides outside her office. Greene was not in the office at the time.

The gesture came after a gaffe from Greene, who had mistakenly said at CPAC that Guam was a foreign country that is undeserving of American aid.

In their interview, Kelly and Greene cast this as a threatening act.

“I saw an orchestrated political event using our troops, marching them into your office, which I found to be potentially intimidating,” said Kelly.

“Thank God I wasn’t in there,” agreed Greene.

Greene did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘We need to rebuild our nation with a new foundation’: Rep. Jamaal Bowman pushes for more progressive action in response to Biden speech

Jamaal Bowman
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-New York).

  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman laid out a progressive response to Biden’s first joint session of Congress.
  • The congressman called for environmental justice, racial equality, and a more fair economic system.
  • He strongly backs legislation that would empower the reach of organized labor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York on Wednesday laid out a deeply progressive response to President Joe Biden’s first joint session of Congress, arguing for increased aid for working families, the strengthening of labor unions, and a Green New Deal for cities and public schools.

Bowman, who spoke on behalf of the Working Families Party, articulated a vision of an America that reimagines what is currently seen as the limitations of Democratic governance.

Bowman is an ally of Biden, but his blueprint for a more equitable American society goes beyond what the president has often discussed regarding everything from economic policy to policing.

Bowman praised Biden for his commitment to education expansion, as laid out in the president’s $1.8 trillion plan that would offer universal pre-K and two years of free community college.

“I was pleased to hear President Biden propose expanding free public education to include pre-K and community college,” he said. “All of that is good, it’s powerful, and it’s going to make a big difference.”

The congressman then pivoted to the economic devastation that has ravaged the country during the COVID-19 pandemic since last year, emphasizing that more has to be done to improve the economic conditions of ordinary Americans. He presents these issues alongside environmental protection, racial justice, and voting rights, all subjects that progressive legislators and activists have vocally spoken about for years.

Read more: Meet Merrick Garland’s inner circle of 18 officials. They’ve got a packed plate investigating major police departments and even Rudy Giuliani.

“While the richest billionaires got $1 trillion richer during the pandemic, more than 10 million families are behind on rent today, and there are 8 million fewer jobs than a year ago,” Bowman said. “The climate crisis continues to ravage our communities, and scientists tell us we’re running out of time to act. Every week, we see an unconscionable new video of police violence against Black and brown men, women, and even children.”

He added: “And our democracy is still under attack, with Republican legislatures across the country cracking down on our right to vote.”

Bowman, a member of “The Squad,” the progressive group of Democrats that have made waves within the House caucus since 2019, called for a reordering of how the US operates on a fundamental level.

“We need to rebuild our nation with a new foundation, a foundation rooted in love, and care, and equality,” he said. “Where justice is truly real for all of us, regardless of race, class, gender, orientation, or religion. I fully believe we can.”

With Democrats controlling both the House and Senate, along with the White House, Bowman said that Democrats can aim much higher when it comes to economic fairness. (Though their control of the Senate is marginal.)

In his speech, Bowman called for support of the THRIVE Act, a $10 trillion infrastructure bill that allocates much more funding than the current $2 trillion infrastructure bill that Democratic leaders would like to pa sss this year.

Bowman said that the bill could create 15 million union jobs and help drive the economic recovery of the country while addressing climate issues and environmental justice.

The congressman also called for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize, or PRO Act, a labor bill that overrides right-to-work laws that many states have imposed to weaken the strength of unions.

The House passed the bill last month, but its passage in the Senate remains murky due to intense GOP opposition.

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Rose McGowan, who was brought up in a cult, said Democratic voters are in a ‘deep cult’ that she said stops them seeing that party leaders aren’t helping them

Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan attacked Democrats in a Fox News appearance on April 26.

  • Rose McGowan attacked Democrats in a Fox News interview Monday.
  • The activist and actor accused the party’s supporters of being in a “deep cult.”
  • McGowan criticized the Clintons for their friendship with Harvey Weinstein, whom she accused of rape.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rose McGowan in an appearance on Fox News Monday attacked the Democratic Party, which she accused of being a “deep cult” whose supporters are in thrall to leaders who don’t care about them.

McGowan, a movie star who was one of the leading activists of the #MeToo movement, made the point after noting her childhood growing up in the Children of God cult.

McGowan told Fox News host Tammy Bruce that she used to vote for Democrats herself, but stopped.

“I am not here to make people feel bad about their political choices,” said McGowan.

“But I am here to say that you might be in a cult too if you don’t know the signs. And I do believe Democrats, most especially, are in a deep cult that they really don’t know about and aren’t really aware of.”

She went on accuse Democrats of being hypocrites who she said defend the status quo while claiming to advance progressive change.

“They’re against changing the world for the better and they’re for keeping a system in place that is for so few people and benefits so few but they masquerade as the helpers,” claimed McGowan.

“My persecution and awakening from being a Democrat was so much about what I do and what I say now and so much about realizing how hardcore of a cult it is,” she said.

McGowan was one of the first women who went public in accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, the scandal that launched the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein was convicted of the rape of one woman, Jessica Mann, and the sexual assault of another, Miriam Haley, in February 2020. McGowan told The Guardian in 2020 that her accusations did not lead to criminal charges because they fell outside the statute of limitations.

Weinstein has denied McGowan’s allegations.

In the interview, McGowan criticized former Democratic President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their friendship with Weinstein.

“I’ve gotten people, you know, on the left yelling at me like, ‘You go up against Biden, you go up against the Clintons,'” McGowan said. “I’m like, yes, but all of these people had – the Clintons have had a direct hand in helping one of my perpetrators who was one of the most powerful Democratic donors there was, and also their entree into the Hollywood world.”

Weinstein was a friend of the Clintons and a donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. In the wake of the allegations against Weinstein, Hillary Clinton praised the women who came forward to accuse him, and described being “shocked and appalled” by the allegations in an interview with Variety.

It’s not the first time McGowan has spoken out against Democrats and those she claims are their allies in the media.

She lashed out at Joe Biden on Twitter during his 2020 presidential campaign, accusing Democrats of failing to help those they claimed to be fighting for.

“If you are serving a master that is not serving you, you are in a cult,” McGowan remarked Monday.

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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he remains opposed to removing the filibuster, amid growing pressure from liberals to erase it

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill.

  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin remains opposed to dumping the filibuster.
  • Some Democrats want the rule erased to overcome GOP opposition and enact sweeping reforms.
  • Manchin’s support is vital if Democrats are to reform or remove the rule.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said that he remains opposed to dumping the filibuster, a Senate rule that progressives want removed to overcome GOP opposition and enact sweeping reforms on gun control laws and voting rights.

The senator from West Virginia, a Republican-leaning state, has put a break on a push by some Democrats to use the party’s control of Congress to enact major reforms and sidestep GOP opposition and spoiling tactics.

“Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the US government,” Manchin said in a statement Friday.

In remarks to The New York Times in an article published Saturday, Manchin defended the filibuster, saying that it had been designed to encourage bipartisan consensus and erasing it could destroy the Senate.

He also signaled opposition to suspending the rule for certain bills, as some Democrats have suggested.

“You’re either committed or not,” he remarked of the rule.

Manchin’s remarks have special weight because Democrats need the backing of all 50 of their senators to get bills passed or rules reformed, with the chamber currently evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaker.

The filibuster has been used as a spoiling tactic by Republicans and Democrats to block bills in recent years.

To overcome a filibuster and pass bills, 60 Senate votes are needed, meaning that Democrats will need to secure at least 10 Republicans’ support to overcome likely GOP filibusters on issues including gun control reform and voting rights.

The case for tighter federal gun control laws was highlighted by mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, in the past fortnight, say advocates.

Democrats say that a federal voting rights bill is needed to counteract a push by state Republican legislatures to restrict voting access. No GOP senators have signaled support for reforming gun laws or expanding voting rights amid deep partisan divides on the issues.

But Manchin did say to the Times that he was open to reforming the filibuster and changing the rule to require senators to actually voice their opposition to a bill and speak out in the chamber. In theory, it’s a change that would make it harder to use the filibuster as a spoiling tactic and has been backed by President Joe Biden.

Current rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose. In 2013 Sen. Ted Cruz spoke for 21 hours to stop the Affordable Care Act. During the filibuster, he read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ by Dr. Seuss.

Manchin said his main goal is to get Republicans and Democrats in the Senate talking again.

“America’s declining trust in the government and each other makes it harder to solve key problems. That trust will continue to diminish unless we, as members of Congress, transcend partisanship,” he remarked in Friday’s statement.

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Democrats failed to get anywhere near a united front on a $15 minimum wage, suggesting the measure is doomed for now

Chuck Schumer Bernie Sanders
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Capitol Hill press conference in 2018.

  • Senate Democrats were unable to agree on a proposed minimum wage increase, reports said.
  • Many – including the White House – support a $15 an hour federal minimum.
  • But several Senate Democrats oppose it, presenting a seemingly impassable obstacle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Democrats were unable to reach an agreement on how best to overcome their differences and push forward with proposals to raise the federal minimum wage, according to reports Tuesday.

A meeting was convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, reported Politico and the Punch Bowl politics newsletter.

It was said to include 8 moderate Democratic senators who opposed a push led by Sen. Bernie Sanders to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It is currently $7.25 an hour.

Sanders was also there, along with others from the progressive wing of the party’s Senate caucus, according to the report.

Democrats suffered a defeat on the $15 wage earlier in March, when a Senate official ruled that it could not be part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

The Senate Parliamentarian – a nonpartisan official – said that a minimum wage hike was beyond the scope of the stimulus package, which was being considered under a special mechanism called budget reconciliation, which allows bills to pass with fewer votes.

8 moderate Democrats subsequently voted against an attempt to have the minimum wage increase included again.

They argued that the bill would mean extra costs for businesses they can ill afford when they are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The meeting was an attempt to bridge the divide on the issue between Democrats, but Punch Bowl News, a Washington DC newsletter, reported that no breakthroughs were made Tuesday.

According to the outlet, Sanders and Sen. Joe Manchin, an influential moderate from West Virginia, battled over the size of a proposed increase, with Sanders arguing for it to be increased to $15 and Manchin favoring $11.

Another sticking point is what level the minimum wage should be for workers who get tips, like bar workers or servers in restaurants, according to Politico.

The impasse places the future of the minimum wage increase in question. The reports suggest the party has a long way to go before achieving consensus within its own ranks let alone mustering the 60 votes required to overcome a likely Republican filibuster.

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Democrats may exclude the GOP from forthcoming infrastructure and drug-pricing bills to pass them with no Republican votes, report says

pelosi schumer
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speak after a press conference on Capitol Hill on December 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Democrats may use the budget reconciliation mechanism to pass upcoming bills, Politico reported.
  • The mechanism would allow Democrats to pass infrastructure and drugs bills with no GOP votes.
  • It was used to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, upsetting Republicans and even some Democrats.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic leaders are considering bypassing Senate Republicans again to pass bills on infrastructure, green energy and drug pricing using the budget reconciliation process, Politico reported Sunday.

Top Democrats increasingly believe that Senate Republicans are determined to block President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, and that they would have to use the budget reconciliation mechanism to get major bills passed.

The mechanism was used to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill in February without a single Republican vote.

Under the rule, bills can pass with a simple majority vote in the Senate, meaning that Democrats can evade Republican filibusters and the 60-vote majority needed to pass bills under the usual rules.

The Senate is currently divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaker vote.

This means that if Democrats try and get bills passed under the usual Senate they need the support of at least 10 Republicans, a tough ask amid deep partisan divides.

Insider reported on Sunday that Democratic plans for the infrastructure bill were running into a wall of GOP opposition. One roadblock is planned tax hikes to pay for the bill’s provisions.

According to Politico’s sources, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer haven’t yet settled on using the mechanism to pass the Biden administration’s next big legislative priorities: a huge green infrastructure bill, and a bill regulating drug pricing.

They are still seeking to secure GOP backing for the bills, but there are few signs that it could come.

The mechanism can only be used one more time before the mid-terms in 2022, because of time restraints and how complex it is to deploy.

Democrats could seek to pass the infrastructure, green energy, and drug-pricing measures all in one package, but then would be unable to try again for some time.

However there are problems with the approach.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin previously said that he would will block the infrastructure bill if no Republican support is secured.

Manchin is a moderate Democrat, representing a largely Republican-leaning state, and his comments highlighted the difficulty of gaining support for what goes into a second budget reconciliation bill across the Democratic caucus.

Given how tight the Senate numbers are, Manchin – or any other Democratic Senator – can block a bill by themselves.

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Mitch McConnell warned Democrats that if they erase the filibuster they’ll ‘release furies they can barely imagine’

Mitch McConnell Joe Biden
McConnell and Biden have worked together for decades, and have formed an unlikely bond.

  • Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell gave a dramatic warning to Democrats who want the filibuster removed.
  • He wrote what the move would result in a “totally scorched-earth Congress.”
  • President Joe Biden has signaled that he is open to significantly changing the filibuster.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Democrats that if they press ahead with plans to change the congressional filibuster rule “they’ll unleash furies they can barely imagine.”

In an op-ed in The Wall St Journal, McConnell Wednesday defended the Senate rule, which effectively requires most bills to get 60 votes to pass into law.

It gives individual senators the ability to indefinitely delay legislation, which can only be overcome by a motion to which 60 senators agree.

The Senate is currently divided evenly 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding a tie-breaker vote.

The delicate balance means that President Joe Biden would need to overcome deep partisan divisions to secure support from GOP senators and get some of his policies through Congress to deliver on his election pledges.

The filibuster was designed to encourage bipartisan consensus. Democrats say the rule has been abused by McConnell and Republicans in recent years to block bills as part of partisan spoiling tactics.

While some progressive Democrats want it removed entirely, Joe Biden in an interview Tuesday said he was open to reforming it and requiring senators to speak on the floor of the Senate to delay a bill.

In the op-ed, McConnell defends the rule, and accuses Democrats of trying to fundamentally alter American politics. He escalated his warning, and reiterated many of the points he made in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Democrats, he writes, “are arguing for a radically less stable and less consensus-driven system of government. Nothing in federal law would ever be settled. That may be what a few liberal activists want, but does anyone believe the American people were voting for an entirely new system of government by electing Joe Biden to the White House?”

In the op-ed McConnell says that dispensing with the rule would result in a Senate even more starkly divided along partisan lines. He notes than when President Donald Trump proposed doing away with the filibuster during his time in office, Democrats strongly opposed it.

“Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like. None of us have served one minute in the Senate that was completely drained of comity and consent,” he wrote.

He says that as soon as Republicans take back control of Congress, they’d use the absence of a filibuster to erase liberal policies, and push through hardline conservative policies of their own with no need to secure bipartisan support.

“As soon as Republicans wound up back in control, we wouldn’t stop at erasing every liberal change that hurt the country. We’d strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero input from the other side,” McConnell writes.

“The pendulum would swing both ways, and it would swing hard,” he warned.

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