Manchin: How many times do I have to say "no nukes"?

Manchin: How many times do I have to say "no nukes"?
(AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

Whatever that number is, add one to it at any time the question is asked. That seems to be Chuck Schumer’s strategy too, and it’s having the same effect as it has for months:

Manchin continues to insist that the only way to change Senate rules is through regular order. He’s willing to discuss some rules reforms, but only with bipartisan support. And Manchin already knows full well that he can’t get that while Schumer keeps threatening to blow up the filibuster to move hard-Left agenda items through the Senate:

As we have repeatedly noted, Manchin has remained remarkably consistent on his opposition to the Harry Reid-created “nuclear option” of changing Senate rules on a simple majority vote. Manchin opposed it in 2013 when Reid stripped the filibuster from all presidential nominations except the Supreme Court, opposed it again when Mitch McConnell used it to remove the Supreme Court exception in Reid’s rule, and has signaled for a year that he would oppose any such move by Schumer to try it again.

Not so consistent, the Senate Republicans reminds us today, is Manchin’s colleague Mark Warner (D-VA). They’re passing around this short clip from Warner’s interview with Martha MacCallum from last July expressing regret for indulging in the nuclear option in 2013, but leaving out the part where Warner clearly hasn’t learned his lesson. The full transcript gives the more complete context:

MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, do you — do you think the president should move to get behind the idea of eliminating the filibuster in order to get some of these things through while this window is still open?

WARNER: Martha, I don’t want the Senate to become like the House, but I do believe when it comes to voting rights, when it comes to that basic right to exercise and participate in democracy, I get very worried what’s happening in some of these states where they are actually penalizing, saying if you give somebody water waiting in line to vote, or in states like Texas where they are seeing a local government can overcome the results of a local election, that is not democracy. And if we have to do a small carve out on filibuster for voting rights, that is the only area where I would allow that kind of reform.

MACCALLUM: You don’t think that’s a slippery slope?

WARNER: Listen, I would wish we wouldn’t even have started this a decade ago. When the Democratic leaders actually changed the rules, I don’t think we have the Supreme Court we did if we still had a 60-vote margin on the filibuster. But we are where we are, and the idea that somehow to protect the rights of the minority in the Senate, we’re going to cut out rights of minorities and young people all across the country, that’s just not right to me.

That’s a nonsense claim on its face, especially the part about “young people.” No one’s cutting out the rights of minorities with election legislation in the state legislatures except in the fever dreams of progressive activists. If and when legislatures pass such bills, courts can and will intervene to halt them. This is just cover for Democrats’ attempts to stop very popular voter-ID bills from expanding into more states, a requirement that routinely gets wide majority support among “minorities.”

The carve-out is dead anyway, but let’s say that Schumer succeeds in getting it through the Senate via the nuclear option. Will Warner again feel regret when Senate Republicans do a carve-out for Social Security and Medicare reform to stave off a nightmarish fiscal crisis? Or how about a post-Roe carve-out to ban abortions at the federal level in a Republican administration with GOP control of both chambers? Or even a national requirement for voter-ID and citizenship in all elections down to the municipal level using Schumer’s proposed carve-out on election legislation? Because that’s what will come of setting precedents for carve-outs in the legislative filibuster.

Manchin knows that full well, and that’s why his warning about carve-outs force you to “eat the whole turkey” was advice he was providing fellow Democrats. If they listened to Manchin rather than just lectured him, perhaps they’d realize the risk.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023