- Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is blocking a voting-reform bill because it has no GOP support.
- In defending his stance, Manchin also said he opposed Democratic plans to reform the filibuster.
- But in 2011, Manchin had called to reform the filibuster himself, saying it “paralyzed” the US.
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Sen. Joe Manchin said a decade ago that US politics had been “paralyzed by the filibuster” but he is now blocking attempts to reform it.
Manchin is currently the only Democratic senator refusing to back the For the People Act, a sweeping voting-rights bill that would cancel many GOP-led voting restrictions at the state level. It passed the House with no Republican Party support, and its chances of passing the Senate have been destroyed due to Manchin’s opposition.
In a Sunday op-ed announcing his opposition to the legislation, Manchin also reaffirmed his support for the filibuster. “I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” he wrote in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
However, Manchin has previously called for it to be reformed.
In October 2011, Manchin told the Charleston Daily Mail that the filibuster was preventing cooperation between parties. A copy of the article is listed on Manchin’s official Senate website.
“We have become paralyzed by the filibuster and an unwillingness to work together at all, just because it’s an election cycle,” Manchin said at the time.
And in December, he said in a press release that to make Congress function better, the US needed to “fix the filibuster” by making senators debate bills properly.
“If senators want to halt action on a bill, they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate; end filibusters on motions to proceed to debate,” he wrote at the time.
Democratic lawmakers have long discussed abolishing the filibuster, a rule that requires that a bill pass by at least 60 votes in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50 between the two parties. Senate Democrats would need to abolish the rule to move the voting-rights legislation forward with no GOP votes.
Sawyer Hackett, the executive Director of the Democratic PAC “People First Future,” was first to point out the existence of Manchin’s 2011 posts on Twitter.
Despite his past criticism of the filibuster, Manchin has been resolute in his defense of it this year.
In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, Manchin reiterated his claim that he couldn’t support the bill without bipartisan support, and that he couldn’t back the abolition of the filibuster.
“Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support,” Manchin wrote.
“They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”
In a Fox News Sunday appearance, Manchin disagreed when host Chris Wallace asked him if he was “being naive” about bipartisan cooperation.
The For the People Act mandates that states widen voter registration, increase voting initiatives, and reform some campaign finance and ethics laws.
Manchin cosponsored that same bill in 2019, when it also had no GOP backers.