Fox News anchor Chris Wallace grilled Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, suggesting he’s ‘naive’ about bipartisanship in his filibuster stance

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Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Al Drago for The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Sen. Joe Manchin wrote an op-ed article reiterating his reluctance to end the filibuster.
  • On “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace pressed Manchin on his hopes for bipartisan cooperation.
  • “Haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?” Wallace asked.
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The Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday over his strategy and hopes for bipartisanship in the Senate.

Democrats continue to express increasing interest in scrapping the legislative filibuster, a rule that essentially requires 60 votes for bills to pass in the US Senate, but Manchin is one of the few standing in the way of his colleagues’ wishes.

The West Virginia Democrat has repeatedly said he does not support eliminating the rule and instead prefers passing bills with bipartisan consensus. He appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” during which Wallace asked him about his stance.

“If you were to keep the idea that maybe you would vote to kill the filibuster, wouldn’t that give Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate,” Wallace asked. “By taking it off the table, haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?”

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Manchin disagreed, saying that there were “seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them” and that he believed there were more who felt the same way, adding that he saw “good signs.”

Wallace pointed out that Republicans did not support a bipartisan commission to study the January 6 Capitol insurrection and that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was “100%” focused on stopping President Joe Biden.

“Aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation?” Wallace said.

“I’m not being naive. I think he’s 100% wrong in trying to block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America,” Manchin responded, adding he believed McConnell put politics before policies. “I’m going to continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends, and hopefully we can get more of them.”

The appearance came on the heels of an op-ed article the senator wrote in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Manchin used the piece to announce he wouldn’t be voting in favor of the Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights legislation, the For the People Act, calling it overly partisan.

“Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support,” Manchin wrote. “They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”

The filibuster is a prolonged debate that can be used by the minority party to block a bill from going to a vote and can be ended only by a supermajority vote of 60 senators.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote.