Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema as filibuster issue comes to a head in Senate

Sens. Manchin and Sinema have repeatedly made their support for the filibuster exceedingly clear

Updated: January 18, 2022 - 2:36pm

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Sen. Bernie Sanders is called out his Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin for failing to support an effort to change Senate filibuster rules to this week to allow their part to pass legislation to change voting laws.

Sander is a Vermont independent but caucuses with Democrats.

In a tweet, Sanders questioned whether all of his Democratic colleagues would vote to change the filibuster, which presently requires a 60-vote threshold for most legislative efforts to pass, or whether Manchin, of West Virginia, and Sinema, of Arizona would tank the effort.

"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?," Sanders asks ahead of the floor debate on the matter Tuesday.

Senate Democrats are expected as early as Wednesday to vote on the legislation that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and  the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would strengthen and build on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

According to the Democrats' Senate schedule, the vote to end debate on the legislative is set to occur on Wednesday, with close to no chance that 10 Republicans will vote with Democrats to advance the legislation.

If, but more likely when, Republicans use the filibuster to block the voting rights bill, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has promised to force a vote to change the chamber's rules.

"Members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, particularly on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as this one, and we will proceed. And if the Senate Republicans choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote, as we expect them to, the Senate will consider and vote on changing the Senate rules," Schumer said last week.

What Sanders' tweet points out is that Democrats do not have the votes to overturn the filibuster.

Manchin and Sinema have consistently made themselves excruciatingly clear on the matter. While both politicians have stated some form of support for the voting rights package, neither one believes in overturning the filibuster with the support of one party alone.

"It is the view I continue to hold. It is the belief I have shared many times in public settings and in private settings," said Sinema during a recent floor speech, alluding to the constant questioning about her position.