Which Senate Democrats Are Blocking The Path To Abortion Rights?
After the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision and overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, devestated onlookers shifted their attention to Congress, desperate for a legislative safeguard.
None is forthcoming. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continue to support maintaining the filibuster as is, meaning most legislation requires 60 votes — including at least 10 Republicans.
All that’s left, TPM’s editor-in-chief Josh Marshall has argued, is for Democrats to coalesce behind a battle cry, a promise and slogan that may save them from a midterm shellacking and give their disheartened constituents an actionable goal to work towards: “We need to win two more Senate seats and hold the House, and then we will reform the filibuster to pass abortion protections.”
That can’t happen until the 48 other Democrats are on the record promising to vote for the filibuster carveout if that situation emerges. The high likelihood that all of them will get on board at that later date — as indicated by their support of filibuster reform to pass voting rights legislation this January — is not enough to make that election promise. It creates room for doubt, leading to despair — a world where constituents and journalists start questioning how many more Democratic senators are needed, really. Three? Four? It becomes too steep of a climb.
Here’s where the 50 Democratic senators stand now. The majority has explicitly called for filibuster reform to pass abortion protections. Several support abortion rights and filibuster reform in general, but have declined to link the two. Another group wants to pass abortion rights, but has been taciturn on or wary to embrace filibuster reform in general. A couple are on the record either limiting his support of filibuster reform to the voting rights bill, or expressing doubt about the wisdom of reform for abortion rights. Manchin and Sinema are known nos.