Incidentally, Manchin has used up the entire post-coronavirus oxygen relief bill after spending a full day in a final vote on the bill, forcing Democrats to feed his ego. What Sinema wants from all of this – or what it will ask for – was not pursued.
If it is not an infrastructure, it could be background checks. The House passed two gun laws, one of which performed universal background checks and another closed the so-called “Charleston Gap,” which removed the three-day limit on these FBI background checks and extended it to 10 days. Manchin and retired Republican Senator Pat Toomey sponsored a background check bill following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut. A Republican filibuster put an end to these efforts despite a bipartisan majority of 54 Senators in support. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to bring the house bills passed that week to the Senate. “Maybe we’ll get the votes, and if we don’t, we’ll come together as a caucus and find out how we’re going to do it because we have to do it,” said Schumer.
So there are two important pieces of legislation that address exactly what Joe Manchin believes is necessary. Surely his home state of West Virginia is crying out for infrastructure investments as coal jobs die out. If he wants to have maximum influence over his state, he might consider not adopting such an insoluble stance towards the filibuster. For the same reason, he has put a lot of political capital into negotiating his background check bill and would certainly love to see it succeed.
If Manchin’s self-aggrandizement is not enough to make him give in, maybe, just maybe, he might be convinced he’s doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, and if he doesn’t, he and his legacy would with white supremacists for all brought in line with the story. The For the People Act passed by the House of Representatives is filibustered by Republicans in combination with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which was championed by President Biden’s great friend from South Carolina, Rep. Jim Clyburn. The only way that Republicans in the minority position they find themselves in can continue to dominate politically is to cheat millions of people of their votes. They will not allow reform of the democratic elections if they can stop them.
Look at the hundreds – yes, more than 250 – of electoral restrictions that the vast majority of states (43 of them) are considering or have already passed this year. According to an analysis by the Washington Post, this is “possibly the most far-reaching restriction on access to ballot papers in the United States since the end of the Reconstruction, when the southern states restricted the voting rights of formerly enslaved black men.” With the US Supreme Court poised to dismiss the remnants of the voting law, this nation’s experiment with representative democracy will end without action by Congress. This would be triggered by what Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley warns of: a “Democratic Party Armageddon in 2022.”
One option to avoid this while still keeping the filibuster for most things would be an option that Stacey Abrams is now advocating. “The Republicans are turning the clock back on voting rights,” she told Mother Jones’ Ari Berman. “And the only way to counteract this is to invoke the constitutional electoral clause, which allows Congress – and only Congress – to determine the time, place and type of federal elections.” To achieve this legally, Abrams and others have recommended dividing voting rights into the judges and cabinet officers category and budget vote so that only 51 votes would be required.
“The exception for appointing judges, the exception for appointing cabinets and the exception for budget voting are all based on the idea that these are constitutionally mandated responsibilities that should not be thwarted by the imposition of minorities,” she says. “And we should add the right to protection of democracy. It is a fundamental principle in our country. And it is an explicit role and responsibility that is only given to Congress in the electoral clause in the constitution.”
“This is not about retaliation or vengeance,” Abrams says. “This is about protecting the foundations of our nation. If we don’t protect voter participation in our electoral system, if we don’t allow states to do what they have to do to protect their voters, we’ll lose ours.” democratic values that are losing our democracy. And so I would tell Democrats who are reluctant that before we fully overhaul the filibuster, we need to make sure that a minority of the people in the Senate cannot be in power, and hence deny the basic principles of citizenship for millions of Americans. ”
If all of this is not compelling enough to get Manchin (and Sinema) to give in and ultimately agree to meaningfully reform (if not completely abolish) the filibuster, the pressure may have to come directly from the president. Not that it’s already there, but it’s coming. According to Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, President Biden’s preference “is not currently about making changes to filibuster rules.” Also for democracy. “He believes that the right to vote and access to voting rights to make sure it is easier for the American people is a high priority and should apply to all. That is why he has signed some executive orders and used the power of the presidency to do this to do this weekend. ” and he is confident that Democrats and Republicans can work together to make it happen. “
Of course, his “preference” for a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief was that Democrats and Republicans should work together, but that would never happen, so he willingly signed the use of a budget vote for that only a simple majority is required. The foundation for Biden to “move forward” in his thinking about the filibuster was actually laid last summer when he told reporters that reform of the filibuster would “depend on how disobedient they are [Republicans] “I’m leaving open the possibility that the Republicans wouldn’t be his friend.” I think you just have to check it out, “he added.
Biden can seek to support reform or abolition of the filibuster if necessary if Republicans again blatantly block his critical agenda. He gets help in this direction from old friends like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The AFL-CIO Executive Board debates very publicly whether or not to demand the abolition of the filibuster, which basically reveals its position: the abolition of the filibuster. “I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh my God, we don’t have 60 votes, woe to us,'” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told Politico last week. Let’s find a way to do this. “
The reality is that it is untenable to leave the filibuster unchanged. Very little of the rest of Biden’s critical agenda can be achieved through a budget vote. Too much is at stake for Biden for Manchin, Sinema and whoever else to feel the need to engage in “non-partisanship” for much longer.