Moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote Wednesday he would oppose any attempt of his party to “eliminate or weaken the filibuster” or abuse the scheme of reconciliation.
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin bluntly stated to the Washington Post.
Manchin’s sensibilities for bucking his party’s potential vote to alter or to end the longstanding filibuster is due to a belief that he should always be able to explain his votes to his constituents. “If I can’t go home and explain it, I can’t vote for it,” he said.
Manchin reasoned his constituents from a rural state are just as important, indeed, significant as those residents of other states, who may constitute more populous and influential states as a whole.
“The Founding Fathers understood that the challenges facing a rural or small state would always be very different from a more populous state,” Manchin said. “Designating each state with the same number of senators — regardless of the population — ensured that rural and small states and the Americans who live in them would always have a seat at the table.”
“It’s no accident that a state as small as West Virginia has the same number of senators as California or Texas. It goes to the heart of what representative government is all about,” he said.
Manchin also said he understands the desire from progressive states to cancel the filibuster, saying, “each of my colleagues has the same responsibility to their constituents.”
Manchin deduced that “We will not solve our nation’s problems in one Congress if we seek only partisan solutions. Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs.”
The West Virginia Senator additionally stated a partisan workaround of the filibuster, called reconciliation, should not “replace regular order in the Senate.”
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate. How is that good for the future of this nation? Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues,” Manchin said.
He continued, “If the filibuster is eliminated or budget reconciliation becomes the norm, a new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping, partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation every time there is a change in political control.”
“The consequences will be profound — our nation may never see stable governing again,” Manchin warned.