Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) once again has egg on his face after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used the filibuster to block the Paycheck Fairness Act and set the stage for Republicans to kill the filibuster if they take back the majority in 2022.

Efforts to find middle ground on the infrastructure bill collapsed this week because Republicans refuse to compromise. Despite President Joe Biden agreeing to drop the cost of his proposal by half to $1 trillion, Republicans would not budge from their paltry $330 billion counterproposal. As soon as negotiations ended, McConnell went to reporters to crow.

“It’s pretty clear the era of bipartisanship is over,” McConnell said, even though he is the one who has been killing bipartisanship since the day former President Barack Obama first took office. Not only did McConnell vow at that time that Republicans would engage in unprecedented obstruction, but he also made the same vow to stop 100 percent of Biden’s agenda.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which ensures pay equality for women, was the first casualty after McConnell’s statement as Republicans used the filibuster to block it from even being debated. It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, and the Senate is divided by a 50-50 split. Democrats could pass bills by a majority vote using Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, but Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Manchin refuse to join the rest of their Democratic colleagues to end the filibuster.

Manchin even had the gall to express disappointment that the Senate did not pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that he voted for even though it’s his defense of the filibuster that sealed its fate.

It’s time for Manchin and Sinema to acknowledge that they were wrong about the filibuster. Keeping it is clearly not bringing about the bipartisanship they were hoping for. Instead, Republicans have used the filibuster repeatedly to even block bills both of them support, humiliating them in the process. They must vote to end the filibuster so that their own legislative goals can be passed, even if it means that zero Republicans will vote with them. Because McConnell’s declaration that bipartisanship is over is a signal that Republicans intend to kill the filibuster themselves the first chance they get so they can jam whatever destructive laws they want down America’s throat. Now is the time to act if Manchin and Sinema truly care about this country.

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