Manchin Denies ‘Being Naive’ On Bipartisanship After Tanking Odds Of Voting Bill Passage

MORGANTOWN, WV - JUNE 03: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is interviewed after a news conference at the Marriott Hotel at Waterfront Place June 3, 2021 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Manchin was on hand for the announc... MORGANTOWN, WV - JUNE 03: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is interviewed after a news conference at the Marriott Hotel at Waterfront Place June 3, 2021 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Manchin was on hand for the announcement of an agreement between Steel of West Virginia, Dominion Energy and Orsted Offshore North America to build and install wind turbines along the Atlantic Coast using a ship to be built by Orsted with steel from the state. (Photo by Michael Swensen/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 6, 2021 5:01 p.m.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Sunday denied having any delusions of bipartisan compromise in a 50-50 Senate after declaring his opposition to the House-passed For the People Act in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

In his op-ed published hours before his appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin dismissed the sweeping voting rights legislation his Democratic colleagues have pushed as “partisan,” while also reaffirming his refusal to eliminate the filibuster that has presented obstacles in moving Democrats’ agenda forward with its 60-vote threshold. The West Virginia senator, who previously expressed issues with the broad nature of the bill, reiterated his support for the less-comprehensive John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

During Manchin’s interview on “Fox News Sunday,” anchor Chris Wallace asked whether the West Virginia senator’s hopes for bipartisanship is the “wrong” approach heading into negotiations with Republican colleagues in the Senate. Wallace suggested that perhaps if he voted to nuke the filibuster, Republicans would be more incentivized to negotiate due to centrist senator’s role as a key vote in the upper chamber.

Manchin denied that his commitment to preserving the filibuster “empowers Republicans to be obstructionists,” citing the handful of Republican senators who voted to convict former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”

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“I don’t think so because we have seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them, not worrying about the political consequences,” Manchin said.

Manchin added that he believes there are a lot more Republicans in the Senate who agree with him.

“I’m just hoping they are able to rise to the occasion to defend our country and support our country and make sure that we have a democracy for this republic of all the people. I’m just very hopeful that — and I see good signs,” Manchin said. “We’re doing more things than ever before. Give us some time. I know everyone’s putting deadlines, got to be done by this, this and this.”

Wallace then brought up Republicans’ use of the filibuster to kill the House-passed bill to create an independent and bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) remarks of being “100 percent” focused on blocking President Biden’s agenda, before asking Manchin whether he is being naive by hanging his hopes on bipartisan cooperation in a 50-50 Senate.

Manchin denied having political naivety.

“I’m not being naive. I think (McConnell is) 100 percent wrong in trying to block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America,” Manchin said. “It would be a lot better if we had participation and we’re getting participation.”

Manchin maintained that he will “continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends.”

“There were 33 Democrats in 2017 that signed a letter to please save the filibuster and save our democracy,” Manchin said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Both Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) commitment to preserving the filibuster poses obstacles to Senate Democrats’ efforts to abolish the filibuster.

Manchin remained opposed to nixing the filibuster even as he urged his Republican colleagues to support the Jan. 6 commission bill, which ultimately failed in the Senate in a 54-35 vote.

The President appeared to vent his frustrations over Manchin and Sinema’s opposition to nuking the filibuster in the aftermath of the commission’s failed passage in the Senate, during a speech marking the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre last week.

“I hear all the folks on TV saying why doesn’t Biden get this done? Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate — with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends,” Biden said, despite the centrist senators’ record of voting in favor of the President’s agenda, prior to Manchin’s opposition to the For the People Act.

Biden then vowed to “fight like heck” for the passage of the sweeping voting rights legislation that faces even more of an uphill battle in the Senate following Manchin’s op-ed declaring his opposition to the bill.

Watch Manchin’s remarks below:

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