Warnock slams Sinema, Manchin for spiking filibuster change

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Warnock slams Sinema, Manchin for spiking filibuster change

Sen. Raphael Warnock on Monday slammed fellow Democrats who have vowed to vote against altering or eliminating this filibuster this week in order to pass two pieces of voting rights legislation.

During an interview on “The View” with co-host Joy Behar, Warnock was pressed on the Democratic push to alter or eliminate the filibuster, a move that will likely fail due to key opposition from Moderate Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV.) 

“Is there any convincing these holdouts? What are these people protecting?” Behar said, asking how Democrats can ensure the passage of the voting rights bills.  

The Georgia Democrat — who currently serves as the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor up until his assassination — harshly criticized those who have expressed their opposition and appeared to claim that they would have been on the wrong side of history during the civil rights movement. 

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) (L) speaks during a news conference following the weekly Democrat policy luncheon on Capitol Hill.
During an interview on “The View,” Sen. Raphael Warnock harshly criticized Democrats who have expressed their opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
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“Well, you know, as you might imagine, as the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, people ask me all the time, especially this time of year as we celebrate his birth, ‘What would Dr. King have done? Where would he stand in a moment like this?’ And especially people like me, born after the civil rights movement, we ask ourselves what would we have done then? I submit members of the Senate, regardless of their party, no longer have to ask what we would have done then,” Warnock said. 

“We’re doing whatever we would have done then right now. This is a moral moment. This is a 1965 moment, because what they’ve done is they have removed the protections that we secured in 1965, and we’ve seen the mushrooming in all of these terrible voter suppression laws all across the country.”

While Sinema has argued that changing the Senate rules would cause further division among the two parties, Warnock accused similar “arguments around procedure” of being the reason segregation and slavery lasted so long. 

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ, speaks during the Senate Finance Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is one of the few Democrats to publicly oppose eliminating the filibuster, claiming it would only further divide the nation’s two political parties.
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“I submit that is not because, you know, you had only folks who were angry and hateful. Often you had these kinds of arguments around procedure around precedent around bipartisanship, and somehow the humanity of the most marginalized members of our country got lost,” he said. 

Warnock emphasized that the voting rights legislation must pass “no matter what,” adding that “our country is on the brink of peril.” 

Biden waves to the crowd alongside Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.
President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation.
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The Georgia lawmaker’s stern warning comes one week after President Biden delivered a harsh address promoting filibuster reform in a failed effort to convince the disagreeing Democrats. 

During his remarks, the president described the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as a “coup” attempt and alleged that Republican-led states are passing voting restrictions to reduce participation because of former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud, which were rejected by courts. He then went on to liken members of Congress to George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis — infamous white supremacists. 

The speech was met with much criticism from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who equated the “unpresidential” address to a “rant.” 

“I have known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at that podium yesterday,” McConnell said, adding that the speech amounted to “shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants.”

Psaki during a White House press briefing.
Following Biden’s remarks claiming the Jan. 6 riot was a “coup,” Psaki insisted that the president did not mean to label his fellow lawmakers as white supremacists.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki later insisted that the president did not mean to label his fellow lawmakers as white supremacists, but “was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves as they determine whether they’re going to support the fundamental right to vote or not.”

Days later, Biden traveled to the Capitol in another effort to get Sinema and Manchin on board. However, less than an hour before Biden was scheduled to arrive, Sinema delivered a nearly 20-minute long speech outlining her opposition to changing the Senate rules. 

Given the overall Republican opposition, it would be near-impossible for Democrats to pass the voting rights bills with a 60-vote majority leading Democrats to look into changing Senate rules and eliminating the filibuster to bypass the threshold. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer originally planned to hold a vote on the rules change by Jan. 17, but pushed it back after Sinema’s speech.

Despite the vote being essentially dead without the two moderate senators’ support, the New York Democrat cited “circumstances regarding COVID and another potentially hazardous winter storm approaching the DC area” as the reason behind the delay.

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