President Biden and Senate Democrats confronted a narrowing set of options on Monday for moving ahead with their ambitious agenda, as the reality set in that they would not be able to maneuver past rules that empower Republicans to block most of their legislative proposals.
Unequivocal statements from Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia on Sunday that he would oppose a broad voting rights bill and never vote to end the legislative filibuster cast a cloud over a Washington tenuously controlled by Mr. Manchin’s party. They forced Democrats to weigh a two-track strategy in which they would be reduced to holding symbolic votes to spotlight Republican intransigence on their highest priorities and limiting their legislative hopes to whatever could be muscled through under fast-track budget reconciliation rules.
Publicly, Democrats said they were not giving up on the voting rights legislation, nor would they confine their legislative agenda to measures that had significant numbers of Republican supporters. But they conceded that they were rethinking how to move forward in a 50-50 Senate where their most important swing vote had effectively declared that he would not support any measure that lacked Republican support.