https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/589169-manchin-doubles-down-on-filibuster-ahead-of-bidens-speech

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn the Money — Democrats grow less confident in Manchin McConnell blocks simple majority votes on Dems’ voting rights bills Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  MORE (D-W.Va.) doubled down Tuesday on his support for the filibuster as President BidenJoe BidenBiden coronavirus vaccine-or-test mandate goes into effect On the Money — Democrats grow less confident in Manchin Fed Vice Chair Clarida to resign over pandemic stock trades MORE heads to Georgia to publicly push for changes to the Senate rule in order to pass voting rights legislation.

“We need some good rules changes to make the place work better. But getting rid of the filibuster doesn’t make it work better,” Manchin told reporters.

Given support from Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaMcConnell blocks simple majority votes on Dems’ voting rights bills Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Democrats face moment of truth in filibuster fight   MORE (D-Ariz.) for the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most bills to advance in the Senate, Democrats acknowledge that getting rid of it altogether isn’t on the table.

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Instead, they are discussing smaller changes including moving to a talking filibuster, where opponents could delay the bill for as long as they could hold the floor but legislation would ultimately be able to pass with a simple majority. They are also mulling a carveout that would exempt voting rights legislation from needing 60 votes. 

Democrats are also discussing smaller changes, including shifting from needing 60 votes to break a filibuster to needing 41 votes to sustain it or getting rid of the 60-vote hurdle currently required for starting debate while keeping it in place for ending debate.

But Republicans aren’t expected to support any of those rules changes, meaning Democrats would need to use the “nuclear option” that lets them change the rules via a simple majority. 

Manchin hasn’t endorsed a rules change option and, in a potentially bigger hurdle for Democrats, he has long opposed changing the rules through the nuclear option. 

He added on Tuesday that the rules should be changed by two-thirds of the Senate, referring to the 67 votes needed to change rules outside of the nuclear option. 

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“We need some good rules changes. We can do that together. But you change the rules with two-thirds of the people that are present so… Democrats, Republicans changing the rules to make the place work better. Getting rid of the filibuster doesn’t make it work better,” he said. 

Democrats could change the rules on their own if they could get 50 senators to support the move and put Vice President Harris in the chair to break a tie.

But that would require both Manchin and Sinema to support not only changing the filibuster rule but also to change the rules along party lines.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterRepublicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Democrats race to squash Cruz’s Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill This week: Democrats face crunch time on voting rights MORE (D-Mont.), who supports a talking filibuster, didn’t commit on Tuesday to using the nuclear option. Sen. Mark KellyMark KellyMcConnell blocks simple majority votes on Dems’ voting rights bills Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Democrats face moment of truth in filibuster fight   MORE (D-Ariz.) also hasn’t endorsed a specific rules change proposal, telling reporters on Monday that he would wait to see the specifics. 

Manchin’s comments come as Biden and Harris will speak in Georgia on Tuesday afternoon to push for the Senate to pass voting rights legislation. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerClyburn on updating election law: ‘What is true today was not true then’ Biden eulogizes Reid as a fighter ‘for the America we all love’ Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin MORE (D-N.Y.) has vowed to take up election legislation this week and, if Republicans block it, to bring up a rules change vote by Monday, Jan. 17. Schumer hasn’t specified when the rules vote will occur, but senators and aides say they’ve been told to expect to be here this weekend and potentially into Monday. 

A senior Democratic aide said on Tuesday that Schumer has invited Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, professors and the authors of the book “How Democracies Die,” to present to Democrats during their virtual caucus lunch “on their research and the urgency of passing voting rights legislation to address growing threats to democracy.”

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