Biden talked about Byrd — with whom he served in the Senate — at some length during his meeting with the 50-member Democratic caucus, contending that the late West Virginian believed Senate rules aren’t static and need to evolve. Later in the discussion, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) recounted that Byrd had maneuvered several times to change smaller-scale Senate rules by a simple majority vote — the same sort of move that Merkley and other progressives have sold nearly all members of their party on doing. “Joe asked a question about Senate rules change. And Joe [Biden] talked about his experience. He’d been here 36 years. It’s changed a lot. The point he made is the Senate rules are not sacrosanct,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said after the visit. “President Biden, speaking as a senator who saw rules changes a lot, talked about the fact that rules change because times change.” But Thursday was a painful day for Senate rules reformers. The commander-in-chief coming to the Senate for a final push on rules changes couldn't shake the resistance of Manchin and his fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). In fact, Manchin and Sinema are only digging in. After the caucus meeting, Manchin declared in a new statement that “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.” He cited Byrd’s 2010 Senate Rules Committee testimony, in which Byrd emphasized the need to protect the filibuster but also decried its excessive use. His stiff-arm was a major blow to Biden and to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s push for Senate rules changes along party lines. Sen. Joe Manchin arrives for a vote at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. | Alex Wong/Getty Images Even as Democrats filed into their caucus meeting with Biden about changing Senate rules to reform federal elections, a response to GOP-backed state laws designed to restrict ballot access, a good portion of them were unaware they had already lost. Just minutes before the group's meeting with Biden, Sinema slammed the door on weakening the filibuster during a speech on the Senate floor Biden once called home. “People were just surprised when we went in there. Because no one knew she was on the floor speaking” in defense of the filibuster, said a Democratic senator who missed Sinema’s remarks. “There were probably 20 people in there that didn’t even know that she had said anything." Unlike Manchin, Sinema did not ask Biden a question during his roughly 90-minute visit with the caucus. There might not have been much to say: Sinema made crystal-clear during her speech that while she supports voting and election reform bills, she “will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.” Many Democrats declined to comment on Sinema’s prebuttal to Biden, which privately rankled some who thought she should at least hear the president out. Sen. Jon Tester . . . read the full article here.