Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona reportedly remained silent during their party’s lunch this week when colleagues mentioned changing the rules of the filibuster to increase the country’s debt ceiling.
With President Joe Biden intimating a change to an archaic Senate rule that requires 60 votes to pass legislation, the two public holdouts may have been symbolically pleading the fifth.
But lawmakers cannot continue to ignore the dire consequences facing Democrats — and the nation.
And if Manchin and Sinema need cover, they need look no further than 2017 when Senate Republicans amended the filibuster rule to push through Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
“Oh, I think that’s a real possibility,” Biden responded when a reporter asked if Democrats were considering amending the filibuster to allow for a debt ceiling bill to pass with a simple majority vote.
Linked to big oil companies and organizations that oppose the President’s plan, Manchin and Sinema have blocked much progress toward voting rights, police reform, and other civil rights measures that have passed the House only to stall in the upper chamber.
While they are the public faces of the obstruction within the party, Rep. Karen Bass determined that there are other Democrats with the same mindset.
“I don’t think Manchin and Sinema are the only ones among Democrats,” the California representative said in a recent interview with the Black Press of America.
The two have been outspoken about their objections to specific Democratic legislative initiatives and their opposition to going around the filibuster to pass laws.
Despite the public division within the party, Democrats are facing a crisis where the clock continues to tick toward a national financial disaster.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently sounded the alarm, saying that catastrophic consequences, including a recession and financial crisis, loom if Congress does not act before Oct. 18, when the government projects a shortage in cash to pay bills.
Biden’s forecast was equally dire: “A meteor is headed for our economy.”
“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” the president said of GOP lawmakers’ refusal to vote to raise the country’s debt ceiling.