Reporters continue to hound Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., over their support for the Senate filibuster, something critics say is preventing President Biden from pursuing his agenda on Capitol Hill.
Democrats maintain control of both chambers of Congress with a slim majority in the House of Representatives and a 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Outspoken liberals both on Capitol Hill and in the media have called for eliminating the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass major legislation that the Biden administration wants to enact.
Manchin and Sinema have long supported keeping the filibuster intact. However, the two senators are not only being pressured by their Democratic colleagues to get rid of the filibuster, they have also been regularly pressed by reporters on whether they'll change their stance.
"You're also just at the center of so many issues in Washington," CNN correspondent Manu Raju told Manchin on Thursday. "One of the issues is that you're trying to get a voting rights bill passed with Lisa Murkowski… There's no sign that there's actually going to be 60 votes to get that done. Some of your Democratic colleagues say Joe Manchin should agree for an exemption, allow voting rights to pass on a simple majority, change the Senate's filibuster rules and do that. Would you be open to that?"
"I ask everybody how well the 2013 nuclear option worked when in 2017 they came back and took it off the Supreme Court. What goes around comes around," Manchin said. "So let's work together. Let's find a pathway forward."
"So you wouldn't do that, an exemption," Raju said.
"Let's find a pathway forward," Manchin grinned while patting the CNN reporter on the back.
Sinema was confronted Wednesday by a reporter about her support for the filibuster while touring migrant facilities in Tuscon alongside Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
"Without amending the filibuster, getting rid of the filibuster, a lot of your colleagues in the Senate say that [the voting rights bill] is not going to pass," the reporter told Sinema. "And some people are saying that you have a choice between the filibuster and democracy. Your answer to that."
"Well, as folks in Arizona know, I've long been a supporter of the filibuster because it is a tool that protects the democracy of our nation rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies," Sinema said. "When you have a system that’s not working effectively—and I think most would agree the Senate is not exactly a well-oiled machine—the way to fix that is to change your behavior, not to eliminate the rules."
Last week, Manchin was asked by CBS News correspondent Caitlin Huey-Burns about whether he'll ever change his mind on his support for the filibuster regarding the passing of a Jan. 6 commission.
"I’m not separating our country, OK?" Manchin replied. "I don’t know what you all don’t understand about this. You ask the same question every day. It’s wrong."
In March, Manchin similarly told NBC News, "I'm not going to change my mind on the filibuster."
On Tuesday, Biden lambasted Manchin and Sinema for stalling his agenda, falsely claiming that they "vote more with my Republican friends" despite having a 100-percent pro-Biden voting record.
Left-wing pundits are also pressuring the two to change their minds.
MSNBC's Joy Reid is among the most notable, railing against them Wednesday and mocking their desire for bipartisanship. MSNBC's Brian Williams suggested Tuesday that President Biden threaten Sinema and Manchin if they didn't change their minds, saying people want him to start "kicking a--."
Left-wing CNN hosts Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo lit into Manchin and Sinema during their change-over on the subject Thursday.