House Majority Whip James Clyburn slammed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) over the weekend for insisting that any vote to change Senate rules and force through federal election reform must be bipartisan.
In a second major blow to Democrats last week, Manchin indicated again that he would oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster along party lines. The West Virginian also said that he would not be open to any rule changes without Republican involvement.
“I’ve always been for rules being done the way we’ve always done, two-thirds of members voting,” Manchin told CNN at the time. “Any way you can do a rules change to where everyone’s involved, that’s a rule that usually will stay. That’s what we should be pursuing.”
Clyburn (D-SC) told “Fox News Sunday” that Manchin’s statements had caused him “great pain.”
“I am, as you know, a black person, descended of people who were given the vote by the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution,” he said. “The 15th Amendment was not a bipartisan vote. It was a single-party vote that gave Black people the right to vote.”
“Manchin and others need to stop saying that because that gives me great pain for somebody to imply that the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution is not legitimate because it did not have bipartisan buy-in,” said Clyburn.
The Fifteenth Amendment was approved by both houses of Congress in 1869 and ratified the following year. Republican members of the House and Senate were the only ones to support the constitutional change.
Manchin, who spiked President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda last month, has repeatedly expressed his opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
“All my discussions have been bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats,” Manchin told reporters last month. “A rules change should be done to where we all have input in this rules change, because we’re all going to have to live with it. Because we’ll be in the minority sometime and then in the majority, back and forth.”
Fellow Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona has also voiced her opposition, with a spokesman telling Politico in December that she “continues to support the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy which would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions, and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government.”
Without Manchin and Sinema’s support, Senate Democrats will be unable to change the rules to more easily pass legislation in the 50-50 Senate.
Biden, who previously opposed eliminating the filibuster, has recently backed the move.
“The only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster,” the president told ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir in an interview last month. “I support making an exception on voting rights for the filibuster.”
“That means whatever it takes,” Biden specified. “Change the Senate rules to accommodate major pieces of legislation without requiring 60 votes.”