Joe Manchin won't budge on the Senate filibuster after at least 19 children were killed in a Texas school shooting

Joe Manchin won't budge on the Senate filibuster after at least 19 children were killed in a Texas school shooting
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  • Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday didn't let up in his opposition to scrapping the Senate filibuster.

  • "The filibuster is the only thing that prevents us from total insanity," he told reporters.

  • Democrats stepped up calls to address gun violence after an elementary-school shooting in Texas.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia squashed scrapping the filibuster to pass a gun-control bill, arguing on Tuesday evening that the filibuster was "the only thing that prevents us from total insanity."

His statement came hours after an elementary-school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, left at least 19 children and two adults dead.

"It makes no sense why we can't do common-sense things to try to prevent some of this from happening," Manchin told reporters at the Capitol. "It's just unbelievable how we got here as a society."

"It's just absolutely horrific," he said. "You all know where I stand — I'll do anything I can."

But the conservative Democrat didn't budge on his opposition to eliminating the filibuster, saying it was the sole mechanism barring the Senate from plunging into chaos.

In the Senate, most bills need to clear the 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster to pass the upper chamber. Republicans have relied on it to block Democrats from enacting many of their major priorities, including an expansion of voting rights. Eliminating the filibuster would pave the way for bills to pass with a simple majority.

Manchin isn't alone in his resistance. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has also repeatedly objected to blowing a hole in the filibuster, casting it as an important element to foster bipartisanship.

Democrats stepped up their calls to address gun violence, particularly in the aftermath of a May 14 shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. In that incident, a white gunman killed 10 Black people, and it's being investigated as a hate crime.

"What are we doing? What are we doing?" Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said during an impassioned speech on the Senate floor. "Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands."

Murphy was referring to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago. Twenty children and six staff members were killed in what's now the deadliest elementary school shooting in US history.

Congress hasn't passed a piece of gun-control legislation in a decade. The House last year passed a measure to establish universal background checks, but it has gathered dust in the Senate. President Joe Biden implored lawmakers to find common ground and mitigate the violence.

"I am sick and tired of it. We have to act," he said during an address to the nation on Tuesday night. "And don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage."

"For God's sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry," Biden said.

For now, it doesn't seem Republicans are likely to take any steps to mitigate gun violence in America. GOP senators pinned the blame on the suspected gunman's mental health issues rather than the ease of access to firearms in the US.

"Inevitably when there's a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens," Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told reporters on Tuesday evening.

Democratic leaders were skeptical that Republicans would work with Democrats on gun control legislation. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer assailed the GOP for blocking gun control measures but said Americans "can cast their votes" in November to register their beliefs on the issue.

Read the original article on Business Insider