Manchin, who is seen as a conservative Democratic, published an op-ed in The Washington Post on Wednesday firmly defending the filibuster and calling for a new era of bipartisanship.
The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure that allows a minority of 41 senators to prevent the passage of legislation. It’s seen renewed focus and criticism since Democrats took control of the chamber.
Manchin’s article states “I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster” and he offers justification for his decision.
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government,” Manchin wrote.
Ruling out changing the filibuster Manchin said “the time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.
“We will not solve our nation’s problems in one Congress if we seek only partisan solutions. Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs.”
Democrats recently used the budget reconciliation process to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package without Republican support. There are limits to the kind of measures that reconciliation can be used pass.
“Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues,” Manchin said. “Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats.”
Manchin repeatedly urged bipartisan solutions and issued a strong warning about what might happen if the filibuster is abolished and budget reconciliation becomes normal procedure.
The senator said “a new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping, partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation every time there is a change in political control. The consequences will be profound—our nation may never see stable governing again.”
Manchin’s op-ed comes in the same week as the Senate parliamentarian issued an opinion that may allow Democrats to advance key parts of Biden’s agenda with just 51 votes.
Biden has previously endorsed reforming the filibuster and hinted at a return to the talking filibuster, which required senators to remain speaking on the Senate floor for long periods of time. Some Democrats have called for the filibuster to be eliminated entirely but with Manchin opposed to the idea, it’s unlikely to gain much traction this year.