“If the filibuster is eliminated or budget reconciliation becomes the norm, a new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping, partisan legislation that changes the direction of our nation every time there is a change in political control. The consequences will be profound — our nation may never see stable governing again,” the West Virginia lawmaker wrote.
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate. How is that good for the future of this nation? Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues,” Manchin wrote.
“Republicans, however, have a responsibility to stop saying no, and participate in finding real compromise with Democrats.”
The reconciliation process was set up as part of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act to make it faster and easier to pass legislation related to spending, taxes and debt, because debate on the bills is limited to 20 hours and can be passed on a simple majority vote.
But working legislation through regular order in the Senate, Manchin maintained, is the best governing process that “prevents drastic swings in federal policymaking.”
“We will not solve our nation’s problems in one Congress if we seek only partisan solutions. Instead of fixating on eliminating the filibuster or shortcutting the legislative process through budget reconciliation, it is time we do our jobs.”
White House officials said Thursday morning they are not alarmed by Manchin’s warning, insisting there is still a long road ahead to determine how to get the President’s infrastructure plan through Congress and that they expect months of negotiations before reaching that crossroads.
“We continue to believe there’s a bipartisan path forward on infrastructure,” a senior White House official said. “That’s what we’re working toward.”
This official said the White House expects to spend more time negotiating with Republicans in Congress than they did in the lead-up to the coronavirus relief bill, which not a single GOP lawmaker ultimately supported.
Still, the White House isn’t closing the door on a partisan outcome in Congress.
“His bottom line is we can’t not move forward with infrastructure,” the official said.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN on Thursday that the White House has “done a lot of outreach” to Manchin.
“There is a lot of conversation between not only Senator Manchin’s office and the White House but members all across the Hill,” Bedingfield told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Bedingfield stressed Biden wants to have an “open dialogue” and hear concerns and ideas about his infrastructure proposal.
“This is a collaborative process and that’s how President Biden wants to get this done,” Bedingfield said. “He wants to work with everybody and that’s what he intends to do.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.