Manchin defends filibuster: 'I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule'

"I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule. We've never done this," Manchin told reporters.

Updated: January 18, 2022 - 9:15pm

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Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) defended the filibuster Tuesday evening by telling reporters, "I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule."

Manchin was asked if he was open to discussions from Democrats about changing Senate rules to create a talking filibuster, which would eliminate the 60-vote requirement.

"I love the talking filibuster. I think there should be. I think basically there should be transparency in how we… do our business here or our lack of doing business," Manchin responded.

When the reporter pressed further stating that the talking filibuster would create a 51-vote threshold, Manchin interrupted: "That's never happened in the history of our country. Basically, there's never been a simple majority vote to basically get off of a debate."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that Democrats would respond to Republicans blocking voting rights legislation by forcing a rules change vote this week.

"If the Republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, I will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation," Schumer said, according to The Hill.

"I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule. We've never done this," Manchin told reporters.

Manchin said when one party controls the House, Senate and Executive branches, without the filibuster, "there's no checks and balances because basically, you can just sweep right through [with legislation] and the same thing can happen if Republicans had control."

The West Virginia senator said: "The majority of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus, they've changed, they've changed their minds. I respect that. They have a right to change their minds. I haven't. I hope they respect that too. I've never changed my mind on the filibuster."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called out Manchin and Sen. Kristin Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Twitter Monday. "As the voting rights bill finally comes to the floor of the Senate, there is only one vote which will really matter. Will 50 Democrats vote to override the filibuster, protect American democracy and pass the bill, or will Manchin and Sinema vote with the GOP and let the bill die?" he tweeted.

When asked about how Democratic leadership would respond, Manchin said: "I work with everybody. I've been around this a long time. I don't take anything personal."