President BidenJoe BidenGallego on January 6 troublemakers: ‘F — them’ Psaki: Why is the GOP afraid of presidential debates? Biden urges employers to mandate vaccines despite Supreme Court ruling MORE for the second time in two months, Thursday saw his agenda limited by a senator from his own party, dampening the White House’s influence and power and raising questions about what results his party will bring to this year’s midterm elections.
This time it was Sen. Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten SinemaManchin says he will not vote to ‘eliminate or weaken filibusters’ Democracy is on life support – and GOP wants to pull the plug Biden: ‘I do not know if we can get this done’ MORE (D-Ariz.), Effectively pulling the plug on Biden’s hopes of intervening in voting rights. Sinema said she would not vote to change the filibuster despite her support for suffrage legislation in a floor speech just before Biden was to speak to the Senate Democratic caucus.
It cut off any slim hope of movement ahead of the high-profile meeting in an effective reprimand of the president.
Just a few weeks ago, it was another centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin says he will not vote to ‘eliminate or weaken filibusters’ Democracy is on life support – and GOP wants to pull the plug Biden: ‘I do not know if we can get this done’ MORE (DW.Va.) cuts the legs of the White House with a surprising statement on “Fox News Sunday” that he would oppose Biden’s Build Back Better legislation on climate and social spending, which has already been approved by Parliament.
Manchin on Thursday followed Sinema’s move with his own statement, reiterating his opposition to changing the filibuster.
Sinema’s speech on the floor, as well as Manchin’s “Fox News Sunday” appearance, resonated at other times in American history, with senators dramatically thwarting the president’s plans leading their party. Formerly Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainA Call for Public Order: Joe Manchin and the NDAA Anomaly Like it or not, all roads ahead for Democrats go through Joe Manchin Has Trump become too tame for MAGAverse? MORE (R-Ariz.) In particular gave the thumbs down in 2017 on the Senate floor and voted against the ObamaCare repeal legislation, which almost completely ended earlier President TrumpDonald TrumpGallego on January 6 troublemakers: ‘F — them’ Psaki: Why is the GOP afraid of presidential debates? Democracy is on life support – and the GOP wants to pull the plug MORE‘s efforts to obliterate the Affordable Care Act.
Developments on Thursday made Biden sound pessimistic.
“The honest answer to God is that I do not know if we will get this done,” the president told reporters after leaving a lengthy meeting with Democratic senators.
“I hope we can get this done, but I’m not sure,” he admitted.
The president invited Manchin and Sinema to the White House for another meeting Thursday night, but the trio did not announce any significant progress on the way out.
Senate Democrats are now facing the realization that they may have to accept a smaller list of results than they hoped for early last year.
Dens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownFeds Brainard Facts GOP’s Pressure on Climate Positions Overnight Energy & Environment – EPA Takes Action to Resolve Toxic Coal Residues Powell says’ very likely ‘climate stress tests will be a’ key tool ‘in the future’ MORE (D-Ohio) said Biden did everything he could to woo Manchin and Sinema. “We all did,” he said.
And he insisted that Biden’s bullying pulpit is still effective, even though he acknowledged that “it is not effective in all matters.”
“It has never in the history of the president been effective in all matters,” he added.
Biden lamented in a speech at the Atlanta University Center Consortium on Tuesday that his power is limited when any Democrat in the Senate can give his legislative agenda a crushing blow.
“I’ve been pretty good at working with senators all my career. But when you have 51 presidents, it gets harder. Anyone can change the result, ”he said.
Biden has met repeatedly with Manchin and Sinema, in one-on-one meetings and in group sessions, to build a connection with the two centrists.
Democratic whip of the Senate Dick DurbinDick DurbinSinema thwarts hope for filibuster reform Pelosi says Biden’s voice was ‘wonderful’ and ‘fabulous’. The Hill’s Morning Report – For Biden it goes from bad to worse MORE (Ill.) Said last month that Manchin “has his own parking lot at the White House, he has been there so often.”
Biden’s senior advisers agreed to drop plans to raise the corporate tax rate and the top marginal tax rate for individuals in an attempt to win Sinema’s support for Build Back Better and agreed to drop a nationally paid family leave program and the Clean Electricity Performance Program to win over Manchin.
Biden earlier in the week seemed to lose his patience with a low-key and behind-the-scenes approach he used to push his agenda on Capitol Hill when he hit a podium in Atlanta, declaring, “I’ve been quiet. Conversations with Members of Congress for the last two months, I’m tired of being quiet. ”
The president increased his rhetoric by comparing opponents of suffrage law with opponents of civil rights for African Americans: late Alabama Governor George Wallace; Bull Connor, Birmingham’s former Commissioner for Public Security, who turned police dogs and protesters against civil rights protesters; and former Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
It received defensive reactions from Sinema and Manchin, who insisted on voting rights, even though they are unwilling to change the Senate’s filibuster rule, which Republicans use to block legislation.
Sinema argued that new state laws restricting access to the vote “are symptoms” of the “deeper-rooted problem” of political divisions in the country that getting rid of filibusters would only make matters worse.
Manchin said that “allowing a party to exercise complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only fuel the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart.”
A Democratic senator who attended the closed-door meeting with Biden on Thursday said the president spent part of the time explaining his development from being a supporter of the filibuster to calling for its abolition to pass the election reform.
The legislature said Biden warned that the Republican state legislature is trying to tip the country’s electoral rules in their favor and deprive millions of Americans who are likely to vote for the Democrats.
“He has made the decision that they will try to steal the next election, and if we do not stand in the way, there may not be a democracy left. I understand that, but Sinema and Manchin view the effort differently,” the source said.
Moments before Biden met with lawmakers, Sinema announced that although she supports the Democrats’ electoral reform package, she will not vote for party lines to change the Senate to bypass a Republican filibuster.
“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that exacerbate the underlying disease of division that infects our country,” she said.
Manchin praised Biden’s speech before the caucus as “very passionate” and a “very good speech.”
But moments later, he issued a public statement in which he stated that it would be a mistake to weaken the Senate filibuster rule.
“We must never, ever tear down the only wall, the necessary fence that this nation has against the excesses of the executive and the consequent haste and tyranny of the majority,” he said.