Sen. Manchin said in a recently published interview that there is no circumstance where he would support weakening or abolishing the filibuster. This is in response to the recent ruling by the Senate parliamentarian that the democrats can use a procedure known as “fast track budget reconciliation,” to avoid anticipated republican filibusters over the Biden administration’s legislation like the recently revealed infrastructure plan.
“The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” Manchin said in a Washington Post opinion article.
Manchin’s insistence upon “bipartisan” passage ignores the fact that republicans stubbornly vote as a partisan block, and with a 50/50 senate, they have made clear their intention to obstruct any policies or plans of the current administration, especially if approval threatens the tax cuts they provided America’s wealthiest during the previous four years. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released the details of Mr. Biden’s tax plan, which aims to raise as much as $2.5 trillion over 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. Biden’s Tax Plan Aims to Raise $2.5 Trillion and End Profit-Shifting – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Although Manchin has made his thoughts about keeping the filibuster clear, he goes further. Manchin said that both parties need to compromise and that using the budget reconciliation process to push major legislation is unacceptable. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was passed using reconciliation.
The Fast Track Budget reconciliation was introduced in 1974 as part of the Congressional Budget Act. The bill provides a fast-track process for passing legislation related to spending, taxes and debt through a simple majority vote. The reconciliation process allows lawmakers to ignore the 60-vote threshold needed for moving a bill forward.
Manchin has stated he will not support any measure that weakens the power of the filibuster, therefore Democrats would only have 49 votes and would still need republican support to achieve a simple majority in a divided and hostile senate.