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Analysis: Joe Manchin just crushed liberals' dream for Joe Biden's first term

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 25%. 1 min read.

US Senator from West Virginia (D) Joe Manchin III is flanked his wife Gayle as he is sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence (out of frame) during the swearing-in re-enactments for recently elected senators in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC January 3, 2019. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

With just 15 words, Joe Manchin ended the possibility that Joe Biden's first term would live up to the hopes that liberals had for it on everything from gun control to voting rights to even, possibly, the size and scope of the President's $2 trillion infrastructure bill.

And which means, assuming Manchin sticks to it, that Democrats do not have the 50 votes they would need to change the Senate rules to eliminate the legislative filibuster.

While the big headline of the Manchin op-ed is his opposition to ending the filibuster, he also makes clear that he disapproves of using "reconciliation" -- a budget tool that allows bills to be passed with a simple majority -- for things not directly tied to the budget, which very much includes Biden's infrastructure bill.

"We should all be alarmed at how the budget reconciliation process is being used by both parties to stifle debate around the major issues facing our country today," wrote Manchin, adding: "I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate.

And in order to restart it, Biden (and Senate Democrats) will have to make major compromises -- read: cuts -- to the size of the proposal in order to get the 60 votes it would need to end filibuster and bring the measure to a final vote.

Manchin and Biden, who spent decades burnishing a Senate resume with loads of bipartisan credentials, still clearly believe that Republicans want compromise and will come to the table for, uh, the good of the country.

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