Civil rights leader and MSNBC host Al Sharpton threatened to accuse Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona of “supporting racism” over their approval of the Senate filibuster.
“The pressure that we are going to put on Sinema and Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism,” Sharpton told Politico. “Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.”
Sharpton is part of a larger push from the left to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass Democrats’ election and voting rights legislation known as S.1.
Manchin said earlier in March that he would “never” stop supporting the filibuster. Sinema has said that she is not open to “changing her mind.”
Their views on the filibuster are important because the Senate is evenly split 50-50, with the deciding vote going to Vice President Harris. In most legislation, there is a 60-vote threshold to advance to President Biden’s desk.
Progressive Democrats see the filibuster as an outdated relic that can be used by the minority Republican Party under McConnell to derail Biden’s agenda, and they want to do away with it. They point to the way the filibuster was wielded during the 20th century to stall civil rights legislation, and warn of a repeat.
At a news conference Wednesday, Senate Republicans said they are prepared to do whatever it takes to block the voting rights bill and predicted Democrats may get rid of the filibuster to usher in the landmark changes.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., offered to stay on the Senate floor for long as it takes if Democrats implemented a new “talking filibuster” where the only way to block legislation would be to stand up and talk endlessly.
“I join all my colleagues in saying there is no amount of time that I will not dedicate on the Senate floor to stopping the Democrats from passing this kind of radical legislation,” Cotton said Wednesday, flanked by nearly a dozen Republicans at the Capitol.
Fox News’ Tyler OIson, Marisa Schultz and Edmund DeMarche and the Associated Press contributed to this report.