Manchin steadfast about keeping 60-vote filibuster but still open to changing process

The West Virginia Democrat is open to a "talking" filibuster, which he said will make the process more "painful" for senators

Updated: March 8, 2021 - 12:29pm

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin remains adamant that he will not vote to abolish the Senate filibuster – which requires a 60-vote supermajority to pass most legislation – but this weekend again expressed a willingness to make changes to the filibuster.

The West Virginia lawmaker, among the moderate Senate Democrats, on Sunday proposed establishing a "talking filibuster," which would require any senator objecting to ending debate to remain on the floor and speak for the entire time.

"If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make (a senator) stand there and talk, I’m willing to look at any way we can," Mr. Manchin said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

Still, Manchin was steadfast about keeping filibuster, which if abolish would allow for the passage of most legislation with a simple, 51-vote majority, instead of 60 votes, which requires votes from the minority party.

"I'm not willing to take away the involvement of the minority," Manchin also said about changing the filibuster rule. "I'm not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also. ... I’m hoping they will get involved to the point where we have 10 of them that will work with 50 of us."

The Senate is now split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaker vote. 

Senate Democrats were able this past weekend to pass their $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on the simple major, voting under a budget rule. However, they will not be able to use that rule to pass House Democrats’ sweeping voting-reform legislation H.R. 1.