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And Now Sinema Arrives to Deliver the Final Death Blow to Dems' Filibuster Plan

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been the one to pretty much deliver the bad news to Democrats concerning their plan to nuke the filibuster. He’s already seen as public enemy number one on Build Back Better after he went on national television to announce he’s killing it because it’s an expensive communist venture. It’s a 50-50 Senate. I don’t get what Chuck is trying to do here. Is it to ward off a potential primary challenge from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Maybe—but she’ll be coming after you no matter what, Chuck. That’s her character. Period. You could pass Build Back Better-plus, and she would still primary you if that was her plan. Yet, Sen. Krysten Sinema is the other party in this ongoing drama among Senate Democrats. They can’t afford to lose one vote. They always end up losing two—these two specifically. And like Manchin, Sinema isn’t keen at all about nuking the filibuster (via Axios):


Voting rights: Schumer says the Senate will vote on a package of Senate rules changes by Jan. 17 — less than two weeks away.

While Manchin said he's still talking with his colleagues, he isn't on board with a filibuster carve-out for voting rights — calling it "a heavy lift" — and isn't willing to go nuclear and eliminate the filibuster altogether.

"Once you change a rule, or you have a carve-out ... you eat the whole turkey," the senator told a COVID-thinned group of pool reporters on Tuesday.

He added that he would want any reform of Senate rules to have GOP buy-in — a long-shot to near impossible ask.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), also a key holdout to major filibuster reform, reiterated during the Democratic lunch she will not support any effort to get rid of the 60-vote threshold, according to two sources familiar with the call.

Sinema has been having one-on-one talks with her colleagues for weeks, one of the sources said.

Schumer was hosting a meeting Tuesday evening with Manchin and the other seven Senate Democrats who helped craft the Freedom to Vote Act.

The majority leader said earlier in the day: "Manchin has said all along he wants to work with Republicans, and we've all been very patient ... but I believe he knows we won't get any Republican cooperation."

Well, even if Manchin signs onto this plan, and I don’t think he will, then Democrats still fail thanks to Sinema. This isn’t going anywhere. It’s the illusion of progress. It’s the long con of showing the television people that Congress is working when they’re not. We’re paying these people over six figures to do nothing. Yet, we’re also assuming that the other 48 Democratic senators are in lockstep behind this. That might not be the case as Ed Morrisey pointed out (via Hot Air):


Some of the leadership has definitely endorsed the idea, including Dick Durbin, who was a big fan of the legislative filibuster during the Trump administration. Others, though, have been pretty quiet about it, including Sinema’s Arizona colleague Mark Kelly, who has to face purple-to-red-state voters in November in an environment created by Joe Biden’s polling collapse. The same can be said for Catherine Cortez Masto, Maggie Hassan, and perhaps one or two other incumbent Democrats, and perhaps even Jon Tester in deep-red Montana.

There may be as many as six votes against a nuclear option, not just two. Forcing a vote on it, especially when it’s doomed to defeat, would put those vulnerable caucus members in the worst of all positions. They would have to cast a vote that would paint targets on their backs, either by angry constituents or by angry progressive activists based mainly in Democrats’ coastal-enclave power bases. Manchin won’t care and neither will Sinema, apparently. The rest of Schumer’s endangered incumbents won’t appreciate it at all, and are likely egging Manchin and Sinema on in their entrenched opposition in hopes that Schumer will back down. And if he forces a vote anyway and comes up short of 48 votes, Schumer will end up looking even more incompetent than he looks now.

Poor Chucky.

H/T Hot Air


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