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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At nbcnews.com, Ben Kamisar reports, “Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a crucial swing-vote in the Senate Democrats’ slim majority, said Sunday that he won’t bend in his support for the filibuster, a Senate rule that forces most legislation to require bipartisan support to pass….But he added that he would be open to Democrats passing more important legislation like voting reforms by a party-line vote — if senators are given ample space for bipartisan negotiation first.” Mancin added that “he was “willing to look at” ideas to make the filibuster “a little bit more painful,” like requiring lawmakers to take to the floor for marathon speeches if they wanted to use the procedure.” That would surely reduce the frequency of filibusters overall. Equally intriguing, Mancin suggested the possibility of expanding the reconciliation process to include voting rights: “There’s no need for us to go to reconciliation until the other process has failed. That means the normal process of a committee, a hearing, amendments,” he said when asked about whether reconciliation could be used to pass voting reforms in the future.”

In “Joe Manchin opens the door to filibuster reform” at Vox, Cameron Peters adds, “Obviously, Manchin’s comments Sunday aren’t a definite commitment to do something about the filibuster — but they’re still extremely good news for Democrats, who appear as if they will soon face a string of futile fights to win over 10 Republican votes for priorities like voting rights and a minimum wage increase….Specifically, Manchin’s change in tone, though slight, comes as Senate Democrats prepare for a fight over a voting rights package recently passed by the House of Representatives, and as high-profile party leaders begin to get behind ditching the filibuster….On Meet the Press Sunday, Manchin indicated some willingness to consider that first option, in addition to a talking filibuster, telling Todd he might be open “to a reconciliation” style approach for passing bills if Democrats are met with repeated refusals from Manchin’s “Republican friends” to work together.”

‘Blue Tuesday’ notes further at Daily Kos: “Shifting a 60-vote threshold to a talking filibuster is essentially ending the filibuster in all but name only. It means debate will have to end. And as we know, Republicans have no real interest in putting in any effort — Ron Johnson forced Senate clerks to read the American Rescue Plan on Thursday night and didn’t even stay for most of it, while Ted Cruz, as you’ll recall, literally ran away to Mexico to avoid helping his constituents in Texas when the state’s energy grid was disabled amid a massive and unexpected winter storm….It wasn’t a slip-up, either: Manchin said something similar on Fox News Sunday….“Maybe it needs to be more painful,”  @Sen_JoeManchin says of the filibuster. “It should be painful to use it,” he adds to Chris Wallace, while also re-upping his strong support for keeping it in place.”….If Manchin is willing to budge on this, Kyrsten Sinema — who got just pilloried for the way she voted “no” on the minimum wage on Friday — must not be far behind….Simply put, if Democrats don’t kill the filibuster, it’ll kill their chances to be a national political party. Gerrymandering and voter suppression will kill them in swing states and come 2030, Republicans will control those states with such an iron fist, they’ll go ahead and eliminate any nascent Democratic movement with more redistricting and voter suppression.”

Meanwhile, Donald Judd and Devan Cole report that “Biden signs executive order expanding voting access” at CNN Politics: “President Joe Biden signed an executive order Sunday expanding voting access in what the White House calls “an initial step” in its efforts to “protect the right to vote and ensure all eligible citizens can freely participate in the electoral process.”….The move comes as Republicans in statehouses around the country work to advance voter suppression legislation, including a bill in Georgia that voting rights groups say targets Black voters. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have pushed measures in recent days to increase voting rights, including HR1 — a sweeping ethics and election package that contains provisions expanding early and mail-in voting, restoring voting rights to former felons, and easing voter registration for eligible Americans….Sunday’s order directs the heads of all federal agencies to submit proposals for their respective agencies to promote voter registration and participation within 200 days, while assisting states in voter registration under the National Voter Registration Act. In addition, the order instructs the General Services Administration to modernize the federal government’s Vote.gov portal….The executive order also expands voter access and registration efforts for communities often overlooked in outreach, including the disabled, military serving overseas and the incarcerated.”

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