Biden Takes Rare Swipe At Manchin And Sinema As Senate Nears Filibuster Fight
President Joe Biden on Tuesday appeared to lash out at Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for their moderate voting records and willingness to buck the rest of their caucus on key issues, a rare swipe at members of his own party as the Senate is set to consider a number of contentious but major pieces of legislation likely to be filibustered.
Biden complained of media commentators pinning legislative gridlock on him, pointing to narrow majorities in the House and Senate and two senators who “vote more with my Republican friends.”
Biden said June – which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has signaled will be devoted in part to House-passed bills on gun control, LGBT rights and election reform – should be a “month of action on Capitol Hill.”
But all of those bills, broadly supported by Democrats but opposed by most Republicans, would require at least 10 GOP votes to overcome the Senate filibuster and pass.
Manchin also opposes H.R. 1, Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill to expand mail-in voting, roll back GOP state-level voting restrictions and overhaul campaign finance, which Schumer says will be voted on by the end of June.
35. That’s the number of Senate Republicans that voted on Friday to block a bill to create an independent commission that would study the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the first successful filibuster of 2021. Even with 6 Republicans voting to advance the bill, it fell 6 votes short.
“We have seen the limits of bipartisanship and the resurgence of Republican obstructionism,” Schumer said in a letter to colleagues after the commission vote. “Senate Democrats are doing everything we can to move legislation… But we will not wait for months and months,” he added.
What To Watch For
The filibuster likely isn’t going anywhere, as Manchin has repeatedly doubled down on his promise not to even “weaken” it. His vote would be critical for Democrats to attain the simple majority necessary to alter the rule.