Biden & Filibuster -- White House Says President Opposes Changes

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki delivers remarks during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 8, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that President Biden opposes changes to the Senate filibuster.

Psaki said that Biden would prefer to work with Republicans on key legislative efforts including on infrastructure and immigration bills.

Biden’s “preference is not to make changes to the filibuster rules, and he believes, with the current structure, he can work with Democrats and Republicans to get business done,” Psaki said.

The comments come after Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) indicated that he would be open to limited reform of filibuster rules. In a series of interviews on Sunday, Manchin said it should be “more painful” for senators to initiate a filibuster to block legislation.

“If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin told NBC’s Meet the Press, saying senators should be required to stand and talk on the floor in order to hold up a bill.

However, Manchin is against eliminating the filibuster entirely.

“I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority,” Manchin said.

With the Senate tied 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote, the centrist Manchin, who has sometimes voted with Republicans, has emerged as a powerful figure in the Democratic caucus. Manchin’s resistance to eliminating the filibuster has been criticized by progressive Democrats who wish to scrap the 60-vote threshold for legislation to pass the Senate.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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