Joe Manchin: Time to Hit 'Pause' on Divisive Politics Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) questions nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 09 April 2021 08:12 AM
Sen Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., says the Capitol attack served as a warning to him about divisive politics in the U.S.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, he said: "Something told me, 'Wait a minute. Pause. Hit the pause button.' Something's wrong. You can't have this many people split to where they want to go to war with each other.
"I've watched people that had power and abused it. I've watched people that sought power and destroyed themselves. And I've watched people that had a moment of time to make a difference and change things, and used it — I would like to be that third."
Manchin now appears to believe that the appropriate response to those events of Jan. 6 is to prevent either side in the Senate from exerting their will over the other, according to CNN.
Manchin is opposed to a process called reconciliation that makes it easier to pass bills without Republican support. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled this week the chamber’s Democrats can use reconciliation several times in one fiscal year to bypass the filibuster and push through partisan legislation.
Politico noted the parliamentarian’s decision could clear the way for Democrats to have at least three more chances to guide bills past GOP opposition before the midterm elections — without trying to kill the filibuster.
And Manchin has also maintained he would not back any step to weaken the ability of Republicans to mount filibusters to block legislation.
Ardent liberal Democrats have been pressing hard to end the Senate filibuster, but they still don’t have the full support of those in their caucus.
Democrats have invoked "Jim Crow" as a means to discredit the filibuster, a tactic which allows for endless debate to stall legislation that was first enshrined in Senate rules in 1917. Prior to that, the Senate had no rules to end debate and the chamber installed a 67-vote threshold to create one. That was reduced to 60 in 1975.
CNN noted that unless Manchin recants on his vow against killing the filibuster, it would be impossible for federal voting rights legislation to pass in the Senate due to Republican opposition.
"I think we can find a pathway forward. I really do," Manchnin said. " I'm going to be sitting down with both sides in understanding where everybody is coming from."
CNN noted that Manchin is the crucial swing vote in a 50-50 Senate and is key to getting President Joe Biden’s agenda pushed through.
The news network asked if he was enjoying his moment in the spotlight. Manchin’s answer: "No."
"January 6 changed me … I never thought in my life, I never read in the history books to where our form of government had been attacked, at our seat of government, which is Washington, D.C., at our Capitol, by our own people," Manchin told CNN.