Democrats won both Georgia seats in January's Senate runoffs, giving them control of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade. But their ability to advance legislation - from raising the federal minimum wage to democracy reforms in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act - can be thwarted by the Senate's 60-vote supermajority filibuster rule.
Progressives' anger at Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his caucus, who use the filibuster to block every initiative they can, is nearly matched by their frustration with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, whose opposition to getting rid of the filibuster means Democrats are stuck with it, since they'd need all 50 votes in their caucus, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as a tiebreaker, to do it. Last month, the progressive No Excuses PAC, whose leaders helped elect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in 2018, said Manchin and Sinema "stand in the way of progress" by abetting Republican efforts "to shrink their own party's pandemic relief, climate, and economic investment plans." The political action committee has talked up primary challenges to both of them to show " 'how angry Democratic primary voters are going to be' if they continue to support the filibuster."