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Pushback against proposal to end Senate filibuster

Graham Piro of the Washington Free Beacon highlights the latest discussion about killing off the Senate’s filibuster.

West Virginia senator Joe Manchin (D.) said he will defend the congressional filibuster despite pressure from liberal activists to abolish the legislative maneuver.

Manchin’s office told the Washington Free Beacon the senator’s opposition to eliminating the filibuster has not changed. Other moderate Democratic senators such as Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and Chris Murphy (Conn.) have also expressed their support for the procedure despite internal pressure.

Manchin’s continued support for the filibuster affirms the stance he has taken since President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. The West Virginia senator has repeatedly said he opposes ending the filibuster, which would allow Senate lawmakers to enact legislation with a simple majority of votes. “I can assure you I will not vote to end the filibuster, because that would break the Senate,” he said. “We’ve harmed the Senate enough with the nuclear option on the judges…. The minority should have input—that’s the whole purpose for the Senate.”

After dual triumphs in the Georgia runoff elections, Democrats hold a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote. One defection from the party is all that is necessary to prevent the elimination of the filibuster.

Ending the legislative filibuster became an issue during the 2020 Democratic primary. Eight Democratic presidential candidates said they support ending the tool, while several more said they were open to the idea.

During the primary, then-presidential candidate Biden said while he opposed eliminating the filibuster, he also would consider the idea if he believed Republican lawmakers were being too obstructionist.

Now, more Democratic Party leaders are voicing their opposition to the filibuster. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said that “of course” Senate Democrats should consider ending the tool.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...