Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) said on Sunday that he is open to changing the Senate filibuster to make it more “painful” for the minority party to wield it. Manchin has previously been outspoken in his support of the filibuster.

“The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful, and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “Maybe it has to be more painful.”

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Manchin claimed that he has previously supported efforts to require senators to filibuster by talking on the chamber floor to block a bill.

“If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin said. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”

Manchin did not foreclose making changes to the filibuster in order to pass a voting rights bill with a simple majority, giving the Democrats an opportunity to pass the bill while preserving the filibuster.

On Wednesday, the House passed a package of election-related reforms, a proposal they’ve given the symbolically important designation of H.R.1.

The H.R.1 is not budget-related and Democrats’ proposed minimum wage increase was removed from the COVID-19 relief bill due to the strict rules. However, Manchin said Democrats need to engage with Republicans before trying to pass their proposal on a party-line vote. Last week, Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package without a single GOP Senate vote. The Senate is now evenly divided, 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote.

“I’m not willing to go into reconciliation until we at least get bipartisanship or get working together or allow the Senate to do its job,” Manchin said on Meet the Press. “I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also.”

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-California) said he anticipates enthusiasm for defending the filibuster may decrease if Republicans continue to use it to obstruct Democratic priorities.

“If we continue to see obstruction from our Republican colleagues, as we saw through this Covid relief package, I think the patience is going to wear thin, even on moderate Democrats,” Padilla said on Sunday on CNN. “But we’ll see.”

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