Dems react after Biden’s meeting on Capitol Hill
(13 Jan 2022) Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is still hoping to use Senate procedural rules to bypass a filibuster and force voting rights legislation to the floor for a debate.
But the Democrats still lack the support within their own party to overhaul the rules and pass the bill with a simple majority.
President Joe Biden spoke at the Capitol to Democrtic senators Thursday after a key fellow Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, dramatically announced her refusal to go along with changing Senate rules to muscle past a Republican filibuster blockade.
Biden had ridden to the Capitol to prod Democratic senators in a closed-door meeting, but he was not optimistic when he emerged.
Republicans have been blocking the voting legislation by filibusters, procedural landmines that take 60 votes to overcome. So Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., want Democrats to change the chamber’s rules so it would take just 50 votes to end filibusters against the voting rights push.
They could do that if all 50 Democratic senators were united behind the plan. But they’re not.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sinema have repeatedly said that while they back the voting rights push, they oppose weakening the Senate filibuster rule without GOP support for fear of further fraying the brittle relationship between the two parties. They’re the same two senators who’ve been the chief stumbling blocks to Biden’s stalled 10-year, roughly $2 trillion social and environment bill, another top Democratic goal.
Following the meeting with Biden, Manchin said the president gave a “very good speech” but did not answer questions on whether he would support any changes to senate rules.
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