Clyburn Warns Manchin, Sinema Against ‘Catastrophic’ Filibuster Denying Voting Rights

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 01: U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee Chairman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) speaks at hearing in which U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on the federal response to the... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 01: U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee Chairman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) speaks at hearing in which U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on the federal response to the coronavirus crisis on Capitol Hill September 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Mnuchin told lawmakers a bipartisan agreement should be reached on funding for schools, testing, vaccines, child care and other priorities. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) warned Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) against the “catastrophic” move of letting the filibuster stand in the way of passing The For the People Act, known as HR1, that would expand voting access, especially in communities most affected by the voting restrictions being pushed by Republicans in many states.

“There’s no way under the sun that in 2021 that we are going to allow the filibuster to be used to deny voting rights. That just ain’t gonna happen. That would be catastrophic,” Clyburn said in an interview published in The Guardian on Sunday, days after the House passed HR1.

Clyburn went on to call out Manchin and Sinema. Both of the centrist Democratic senators have faced criticism from those in their party over their opposition to eliminating the filibuster.

“If Manchin and Sinema enjoy being in the majority, they had better figure out a way to get around the filibuster when it comes to voting and civil rights,” Clyburn said.

After stating that he is not necessarily advocating for the elimination of the filibuster, Clyburn added that the Democratic Party “would do well to develop a Manchin-Sinema rule” when it comes to getting around the filibuster regarding issues on race and civil rights.

HR1, which includes provisions such as making Election Day a federal holiday and requiring states to provide at least 15 days of early voting, was passed by the House last week. Along with other Republicans, former Vice President Mike Pence decried HR1 as “unconstitutional, reckless, and anti-democratic” while pushing the bogus election fraud claims that former President Trump continues to peddle.

Although Manchin on Sunday maintained that he won’t change his mind when it comes to his opposition against getting rid of the filibuster, he expressed that he is open to making it “a little bit more painful” to use.

“Make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m willing to look at any way we can. But I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”

Manchin appeared to float the idea of bringing back something like the “talking filibuster,” where a member of the minority would have to take the Senate floor and speak at length in order to block a vote. Manchin seemed to lean into a framing that some Democratic activists have suggested for centrist Democrats — conveying that reforms to the filibuster are necessary to “save” it, rather than eliminating it.

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