(USA Features) Centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to ditching the filibuster rule and using budget reconciliation to force through controversial legislation is threatening to derail President Joe Biden’s agenda.
On Wednesday, the West Virginia senator voiced opposition to plans backed by Democratic leaders to use the reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan without any Republican support in the evenly divided Senate, Reuters reported.
In addition, Manchin repeated his earlier opposition to getting rid of the filibuster rule, which would also allow Democrats to pass bills without any GOP support.
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” Manchin wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues.”
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin continued.
“Every time the Senate voted to weaken the filibuster in the past decade, the political dysfunction and gridlock have grown more severe,” Manchin observed, adding that it is time to end “political games” and go back to a “new era of bipartisanship.”
Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief measure earlier this year over GOP opposition.
The Senate Parliamentarian ruled earlier this week that Democrats could use an obscure rule in the budget reconciliation law to pass more legislation this year without Republican backing.