Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell were locked in a major power struggle.
The standoff ended in surprising fashion.
Chuck Schumer couldn’t believe what these two Democrats agreed to do.
The Senate is split evenly 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans.
Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote hands Chuck Schumer the operation title of majority leader.
But for the day-to-day matters,Schumer and McConnell needed to establish the operating rules of the Senate to determine committee chairs and the other mechanics of how the Senate will conduct its business.
Passing this resolution required 60 votes unless Democrats went nuclear and changed the rules to adopt an organizing resolution with just 51 votes.
McConnell held out releasing Republicans to vote for the resolution unless Schumer put in writing that Democrats would not eliminate the legislative filibuster in the next two years.
Schumer refused to relent but two Democrat Senators—Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—came out and claimed under no circumstances would they vote to eliminate the filibuster.
“If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Sen. McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you. That I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right? I will not vote to change the filibuster,” Manchin claimed. “And I hope with that guarantee in place he will work in a much more amicable way.”
“I’m in the same place I’ve always been. Busting the filibuster under any conditions is wrong. We can organize the Senate. I’m sure we can work through that. If he knows as strongly as I feel about it?” Manchin added.
Republicans should treat Manchin’s words as meaningless.
In 2010 Manchin won election to the Senate claiming to be a pro-gun champion.
But once in office Manchin colluded with Barack Obama to impose a national gun registration database scheme.
Sinema also claimed to oppose getting rid of the filibuster.
The Washington Post reported, “Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) has been the most outspoken Democratic opponent of changing Senate rules and has sought to assemble a bipartisan cadre of centrist senators willing to hammer out deals across the aisle. But other Democrats are similarly resistant. A spokeswoman for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) said the senator is ‘against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.’”
Republicans should not believe McConnell won anything substantive.
Politicians—especially Joe Manchin—have a long history of claiming they will support something right up until the very moment they change their mind and vote in favor of whatever it was they claimed to oppose.
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