Some congressional Democrats have toyed with killing off the filibuster so they can finally take advantage of that trifecta of control they currently hold over the Swamp and the nation – but others have been hesitant. Now that the GOP has finally used the filibuster by rejecting the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, progressives have ramped up their efforts to persuade Congress to pull the rug out from under Republicans. Will the final holdouts keep their eye to the future and their wits about them – or will they cave to the progressive pressure?
“In the face of Republicans’ inability and unwillingness to defend our democracy, it is clearer than ever that the filibuster needs to be eliminated,” read a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Thursday, June 3. Co-signed by more than 100 progressive groups – including Fix the Senate Now, Indivisible, March for Our Lives, and the Sierra Club – the missive was addressed to Schumer but aimed at the two leading pro-filibuster Democrats remaining in the Senate, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
With the 2022 midterm elections just around the corner, many of these Democrats and the voters and special interest groups who put them in power are feeling another pressure all together – the need to get some meaningful progressive legislation on Biden’s desk to be signed into law before Republicans have the chance to take back one or both chambers of Congress.
Will Schumer lend his weight behind the progressive push? He hasn’t come out one way or the other on the issue, but he has hinted that he may be ready to move if the opportunity arises. “Everything is on the table,” he has said, when it comes to enacting a “bold” agenda.
Not long ago, Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner asked: “Could it be that the man who will save this constitutional republic from the slings and arrows of the ascendant collectivists intent on mangling the U.S. Constitution is – gasp – a Democrat?” As Tim went on to explain, despite the overwhelming drive by Democrats to end the filibuster now that they hold an effective majority in both chambers of Congress and have their man in the White House, Sen. Manchin has not given any ground on his beliefs. A pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Democrat who prefers the Republicans’ budgetary counteroffer to Biden’s bill and refuses to support nuking the filibuster … why, he’s practically a Republican, himself – or so his fellow Democrats must believe.
After the GOP killed the measure to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, Manchin showed no indication that he would support an end to the filibuster. He isn’t alone in his defense, however. Sen. Sinema specifically said that she would still defend the filibuster, even after Republicans finally used it for the first time this legislative session.
“Some people are saying that you have a choice between the filibuster and democracy,” a reporter said during a press conference on Wednesday, June 2. Sinema countered that the filibuster “is a tool that protects the democracy of our nation, rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies.”
Good Luck, Chuck
In the end, it hardly matters what Sen. Schumer or any other Democrat wants, so long as they can’t muster 50 votes in the Senate to enable Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie and nuke the filibuster. Manchin and Sinema don’t seem to be budging, and it seems highly unlikely that any Republicans would vote to silence their own voices moving forward.
Neither Manchin nor Sinema are up for re-election until 2024, and they both hail from somewhat pro-Trump areas, meaning they’re safe through the coming midterms, and likely don’t feel the fear of progressive primary challengers. For that matter, Manchin himself suggested he might have voted for Trump if the 2020 Democrat nominee had been Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Each time the Biden agenda is thwarted by a GOP filibuster, there’s more pressure to end the procedure. Manchin and Sinema are the ones who will have to weigh that burden against the desire to keep a filibuster they can use in the event that Republicans take control once again.
Read more from James Fite.