Congress U.S. Senate

Chuck Schumer May Have Found A Way To Change Joe Manchin’s Mind About Nixing The Filibuster: Report

Thanks in large part to the massive stubbornness of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), major portions of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda — voting rights, expanding access to affordable health care, and repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure — remain on the shelf, unrealized and threatening to bring progress to a grinding halt just five months into Biden’s term.

Could there be a way to convince Manchin and his Arizona counterpart, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, to finally give in and agree to major reform of the Senate filibuster?

According to a report from the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may have found an antidote to Manchin’s recalcitrance:

“Democrats are about to embark on a strategy to try to demonstrate to those reluctant colleagues — and to the public at large — that the filibuster is being abused by Senate Republicans intent on depriving them and President Biden of crucial legislation.”

How will this be accomplished? By bringing extremely popular legislation to the Senate floor and letting reluctant Democratic senators see just how complete Republican obstruction is and how it must be overcome:

“Mr. Schumer said he intended to bring the filibuster showdown to a head beginning next week, by forcing votes on a series of measures that Republicans oppose, including one that was blocked by a Republican filibuster in 2014 that seeks to ensure that women and men receive the same pay for equal work. Mr. Schumer hinted that he could also bring forward legislation on gay rights and gun safety. Most immediately, he promised a vote before the end of June on a sweeping voting rights bill that Democrats say is needed to counter new Republican-led voting restrictions being enacted in states around the nation.”

With that strategy, Schumer and other Senate Democrats believe it will soon become clear that only by nixing the filibuster can anything be accomplished in the upper chamber of Congress:

“The idea is to show Democrats refusing to change the filibuster rules that Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, are going to stand in the way of legislation that has widespread support, and that the only way to win their adoption is by overturning the rules.”

It’s the very same strategy former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used when faced Democratic resistance to amending and update filibuster rules:

“It is replicating a strategy that Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader, employed in 2013 to persuade fellow Democrats to blow up the filibuster for judicial and executive branch nominees. He purposefully lined up a series of votes on highly regarded nominees to the influential United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. When Republicans repeatedly blocked them, Mr. Reid gathered enough Democratic support to change the rules by a majority vote.”

June, it seems, could be the make or break month when it comes to implementing the Biden agenda, with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) noting:

“It is all building toward a showdown on voting rights, and voting rights are the precondition to every other issue being considered fairly in our country. I do believe a historical moment is about to arrive by the end of June on the Senate floor.”

The bottom line is this: If Manchin and Sinema don’t want to actually accomplish something for their constituents and the nation, they should forego running for reelection.


By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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