Biden call for filibuster exception to codify abortion rights immediately hits roadblocks

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona remain opposed to selectively changing legislative filibuster rules to pass certain pieces of legislation.

Updated: June 30, 2022 - 11:34pm

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After President Biden said he supports eliminating the legislative filibuster in the Senate to codify federal abortion rights, moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are standing their ground in opposition to changes to the filibuster.

Filibuster rule changes would require the support of all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate.

"I believe we codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that," Biden said on Thursday in Madrid. "And if the filibuster gets in the way, it's like voting rights, it should be — we provide an exception for this. We require an exception to the filibuster for this action."  

Democratic leaders have renewed their call to codify abortion rights into federal law since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Biden for announcing his support for reversing the Supreme Court's decision by codifying Roe v. Wade while he was Madrid.

"Attacking a core American institution like the Supreme Court from the world stage is below the dignity of the president," he said in a statement.

Manchin's office said his position against eliminating the legislative filibuster hasn't changed, according to CNN. A spokesperson for Sinema's office also said her stance on the filibuster is the same.

With Vice President Kamala Harris' vote, Senate Democrats have 51 votes to pass legislation with a simple majority only. The legislative filibuster requires 60 votes for a bill to advance. Senate Democratic leaders were unable to advance federal election reform legislation without changes to the filibuster. Manchin and Sinema supported voting reform but opposed changing filibuster rules to advance specific pieces of legislation. 

The Women's Health Protection Act, which would have codified abortion rights, passed in the House after the leaked draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade was made public. The bill failed to advance in the 50-50 Senate.

Just the News reached out to both Manchin's and Sinema's offices about Biden's support for filibuster changes related to abortion rights but didn't receive a response before press time.