“We Hurt the Senate Enough”: Why Joe Manchin Doesn’t Move on the Filibuster

Q: The Democratic Party thought it could recall the Senate this year, and there is still a chance that it could happen if it gets both seats in Georgia. To pass more important legislation, you must either get Republican support or kill the filibuster. He had long opposed killing the filibuster. Why is that?

V: I can assure you that I will not vote to abolish the filibuster because it would break the Senate. We did enough damage in the Senate with the nuclear option of the judges. We conduct discussions for life by simple majority. The minority must contribute – that is the goal of the Senate. If you basically completely abolish the legislature, there will be no senate. You are a glorified house. And I’m not going to do that.

Q: So there is no question where you would undertake to complete the filibuster? Suppose there is a much-needed new coronavirus stimulus package and Republicans will not bargain.

V: No. If we can’t unite in America, God help us. If you have to blow up the Senate to do the right thing, we’ll find bad people in the Senate, or there will be people who won’t talk to each other. You know, I’ve always said, Chuck Schumer, he’s going to talk to anyone and everyone with his personality. You can work with Chuck. Chuck tries his best to reconnect with Mitch.

Q: Is there any other issue where you draw a line in the sand and stand up to the rest of your party?

V: I did it. I was that one vote for Brett Kavanaugh. I thought there had to be evidence, and I never saw evidence. The country was in a nurturing frenzy. And there was no Democrat who would use that. I said, “I’m not ruining a person’s life because there’s no evidence.”

And wouldn’t it be so appropriate for you to vote in favor of maintaining the Affordable Care Act? God, oh. Salvation! Is there salvation here? He and I had a long conversation, and I basically said, “I beg you and your inner conscience when it comes before you, I want you to think of 800,000 West Virginia people who couldn’t get insurance for a pre-existing condition before. I want you to think of the 160,000 West Virginia people who were so poor that they had nothing.