The Hill: Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats

From The Hill:

Democrats are stepping up talks about reforming or abolishing the filibuster if they win back the Senate and White House in November.

The renewed discussions are being spurred by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), an outspoken liberal who has long championed revamping the procedural tactic that Democrats see as a serious obstacle to passing legislation and confirming nominees.

Merkley has floated various proposals with colleagues in recent days as polls show former Vice President Joe Biden widening his lead over President Trump and Democrats increasing their odds of picking up the three Senate seats needed for majority control if Biden wins.

“I just heard they started talking and I’m interested in listening to anything because the place isn’t working. I just heard about it this morning,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a prominent moderate, said Thursday of the uptick in discussion about filibuster reform should Democrats win back the majority.

Manchin said he expected to review proposals from colleagues soon and cited Merkley as a key player.

His willingness to review filibuster reform is a reflection of how frustrated Democrats — and many Republicans — have become with legislative gridlock.

Some of that frustration was on display last week after a motion to proceed to a GOP police reform bill failed after a 55-45 vote fell short of the 60 needed to advance. Manchin was one of the handful of Democrats who voted in favor of proceeding.

Manchin’s new outlook on filibuster reform contrasts with comments he made just a year ago on the topic.

“I would hope that they would not ever, ever consider doing away with the filibuster, which is basically the whole premise of the Senate,” he told The Hill in July 2019.

Another prominent Democratic moderate, Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), has also shifted his position on filibuster reform in recent days.

Coons, a top Biden ally and one of his early campaign surrogates on Capitol Hill, told Politico in an interview: “I will not stand idly by for four years and watch the Biden administration’s initiatives blocked at every turn.”

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