Manchin Reiterates: It Takes Two-Thirds of Senate to Change the Filibuster Rules

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) speaks to news reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 4, 2022. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer clearly doesn’t have the votes to abolish the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for most legislation (or even change the rules governing the filibuster) with a simple majority. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin tells Politico: “We need some good rules changes. We can do that together. But you change the rules with two-thirds of people present. So, Democrats and Republicans changing the rules to work better.”

Manchin has long been open to making some rules changes — such as switching to a “talking filibuster” — but he’s always insisted on making those changes through the Standing Rules of the Senate, which establish a threshold of two-thirds of senators present and voting to change the rules.

Senate Democratic leaders are nevertheless telling reporters that they intend to attempt to change the rules with a simple-majority vote:

It’s hard to see Schumer’s decision to hold a failed vote on the “nuclear option” as anything other than an attempt to placate the progressive base.

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