Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged his fellow GOP senators to lay off negative rhetoric directed at two Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have advocated to protect the congressional practice known as the filibuster
In an unusual meeting Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican advised senators to praise the two moderate Democrats who, he told lawmakers, could “save this institution,” Politico reported
Both Manchin and Sinema have faced pressure from leftist Democrats over increasing calls for filibuster reform or removal, but they have made it clear they will not agree to repeal the century-old practice.
“What they’ve been very forthright about is protecting the institution against pressures from their own party. I know what that’s like,” McConnell told the Washington, D.C.-based publication, alluding to pressures he faced from Donald Trump. “It’s nice that there are Democrats left who respect the institution and don’t want to destroy the very essence of the Senate.”
While several left-leaning Democrats in the House have increasingly called for the end to the measure that requires the Senate have least 60 votes to pass a bill, Democrats in the Senate have been more dubious on where they stand on filibuster reform.
“I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin said in an op-ed for the Washington Post last week.
“Generations of senators who came before us put their heads down and their pride aside to solve the complex issues facing our country. We must do the same. The issues facing our democracy today are not insurmountable if we choose to tackle them together,” he added.
Critics of the filibuster argue it is a policy clog that prevents legislation getting through the Senate, particularly when there is a 50-50 split amongst Republicans and Democratic senators.
Some congressmen and even President Biden have suggested filibuster reform that would once again require a stand-in performance in the Senate chambers, forcing any legislator who objected to a bill to speak for hours on end in order to prevent a vote.
This traditional method of filibustering ended in the 1970’s, but some have argued the removal has made it too easy for bills to be blocked.
Manchin has argued that instead of removing the filibuster, Democrats and Republicans should learn how to pass bipartisan legislation together.