Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the two Democrats who have made the most attention-grabbing noise about not getting rid of the filibuster, are at least having to defend their positions right now. Here’s their latest, a joint statement imploring Republicans to play nice on the Jan. 6 commission. Literally. “We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th.”
But Manchin blew any chance of Republicans taking that implied threat on the filibuster seriously just minutes before tweeting out that statement.
“I can’t take the fallout,” he said when asked by reporters whether he would support evading the Senate stalling tactic.
Manchin was unclear what he meant by “fallout” or from whom it would originate.
“A bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day has passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote and is a critical step to ensuring out nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again,” the joint Manchin and Sinema statement reads. Except the Senate bill under consideration already structures a commission that can be sabotaged by Republicans leaders Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell should be watered down even further so it can continue to be bipartisan.
Instead, he’s deputized Susan Collins to do exactly what Manchin and Sinema are inviting: find a way forward to Republicans supporting it, which means watering it down even more.
Note that the supposed problems Collins sees with the existing bill aren’t actually problems. It already does the two things she insists it must do—end by December 31, 2021 and allow Republicans to hire Republican staff. It does more as it stands. It allows McCarthy and McConnell to pick whoever they want to serve on it. They could pick racist Trump adviser Stephen Miller, or any of the corrupt former Trump administration officials who helped foster the Big Lie and cover up the insurrection from the inside. If McConnell were actually the savvy politician every Beltway reporter wants to make him out to be, he’d see that and take this chance, releasing eight more of his members to vote for the thing.
But McConnell remains opposed to what he’s calling a “purely political exercise.” Will the standoff over the commission be the thing that convinces Manchin and Sinema to help them understand that the Senate GOP is not serious about legislation?