“I’m not naive,” said Mr. Manchin, admitting that Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has vowed to block Mr. Biden’s agenda. “We’d be much better if we had a turnout, and we get a turnout, but when it comes to a final vote …” He paused.
He also suggested that Senate Democrats were partially responsible for the current Senate filibuster dilemma, noting that it was then Nevada majority leader Harry Reid who first removed parts of the filibuster in 2013.
“What goes around here comes around here, they all understand,” said Mr Manchin. “And in 2017 there were 33 Democrats who signed a letter to ‘please save the filibuster and save our democracy’. That’s what I’m trying to do. “
The Democrats rejected the proposal, saying the erosion of support for the filibuster on their side of the aisle was due to the Republicans’ abuse of rule. That was crowned late last month by a Republican filibuster for a bipartisan commission investigating the origins and effects of the January 6 attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol.
Senate Democrats have held passionate in camera sessions on the Voting Act, which have been enforced from state to state through pre-enacted voting restrictions or Republican-owned legislatures. So far, they have resisted breaking the For the People Act and adopting less partisan measures, such as ethical rules designed to prevent the presidency from benefiting from the presidency and to make the business interests of presidents and vice-presidents more open to public scrutiny .
Mr Blumenthal said that if Mr Manchin stood firm, talks on legislative strategy would pick up. “We must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good,” he said.
“These measures are about ending campaign funding corruption and political self-exaltation in a way that is fundamental to maintaining our democracy, along with maintaining access to the right to vote, which is central to our democracy “, he added. “We may have choices before us, but we have to be very careful about the sacrifices we might make if we rethink what For the People contains too radically.”
Chris Cameron Reporting contributed.