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Lone Dem Likely Has Doomed Plans to Dodge Filibuster

Joe Manchin says reconciliation process will cause 'drastic swings in federal policymaking'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 6:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the Senate split 50-50, the success of Democrats' legislation depends on having a unified caucus—and one member may have dashed hopes of getting around the filibuster another time this year. In a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia criticizes the use of the budget reconciliation process and says "there is no circumstance" in which he will "vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster." A ruling from Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough on Monday opened the door to using the reconciliation process multiple times in the same fiscal year, potentially allowing Democrats to use it to pass measures like President Biden's infrastructure plan without Republican support.

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In the op-ed, Manchin, considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, defends the filibuster as a way to protect the input of people from small or rural states like his own and says he doesn't believe "budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate." He argues that to avoid "drastic swings in federal policymaking," lawmakers should do the hard work of crafting bipartisan legislation. "Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs," he writes. Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona has also spoken out against abolishing the filibuster, the Hill reports. (Biden said Wednesday that he is open to compromise on a corporate tax hike to fund his infrastructure plan.)

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