September 28, 2021

New Day's John Berman asked Al Franken what he thought of Rep. Ilhan Omar attacking Joe Manchin for standing in the way of legislation.

."Well, he won in West Virginia, which went for Trump by 38 points. So with all due respect to the representative, we need Joe Manchin as much as we need Bernie Sanders," Franken said. "We need all 50."

Berman asked Franken what moves Manchin.

"He is a politician. He is a good politician," he stressed.

"He won in West Virginia. He knows how to do that. Without him, we wouldn't have the majority. He is going to be looking out for West Virginia interests, but I know he is going to -- look, there's so much in this that we have to get done. We have to get -- you know, a child tax credit will reduce childhood poverty by 50% in this country. That's huge. Medicare negotiating with pharmaceuticals, that's huge. All these are wildly popular. Joe knows. He is chairman of the energy committee, he knows we have to move to clean energy. I know he's from West Virginia. I know that it's a coal state, but he knows this.

"I've talked to Joe about this. I've also talked to Joe about the filibuster. one of the big things that is going on right now to me is on voting rights. Joe and Amy Klobuchar and some others put together this Freedom to Vote Act which is absolutely essential. Because we have sort of an existential crisis in our democracy right now. You see Republicans in states like Georgia and Texas and Arizona passing laws that will give state legislatures the right to overturn elections. You can't allow that to happen.

"So is this something we're going to do a carveout on and pass with 50, 51 with the vice president, on reconciliation, or is it something -- I have proposed a reform of the filibuster that Joe Manchin is open to and said publicly he is open to, which is that instead of 60 to sustain a filibuster, you need 41 to sustain a filibuster and they have to stay on the floor and they have to debate. I think that may be where we're going."

Franken said the United States can't default on its obligation, Democrats will try to fix it by themselves.

"Democrats are going to do it themselves because McConnell has put them in this ridiculous position. They're going to do it for political -- they're going to say, oh, Democrats created all this spending, and that's why we had -- no, no. this is trillions of dollars that Republicans and Democrats did together.," Franken said.

He said McConnell wants to then blame the Democrats for all the spending, but "I'm not sure the American people are quite that naive. I think the American people are going to look at who is responsible? Who averted an international economic crisis? They're going to -- so we'll see how sophisticated the American people are."

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