Manchin Opposes Sweeping Voting Rights Bill, Endangering Its Survival In Senate

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 12: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with reporters after a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, September 12, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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June 6, 2021 9:59 a.m.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) declared his opposition to the House-passed For the People Act, and reaffirmed his refusal to eliminate the filibuster, in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday.

Manchin does not articulate specific policy objections to the legislation — which proposes major election reforms that lower barriers to voting — but simply dismisses the measure as “partisan.”

“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening blinds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For The People Act,” Manchin wrote.

“The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,” the West Virginia senator added.

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Manchin doubled down on his promise to preserve the filibuster.

“I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin wrote. “For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.”

Manchin, who previously expressed issues with the broad nature of the bill, reiterated his support for the less-comprehensive John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

“I continue to engage with my Republican and Democratic colleagues about the value of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and I am encouraged by the desire from both sides to transcend partisan politics and strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights,” Manchin wrote.

Manchin’s opposition to the sweeping voting reform legislation, which passed in the House last March in a 220-210 vote without GOP support, endangers the bill’s survival in the 50-50 Senate.

Last week, President Biden appeared to take aim at Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for their vehement refusal to eliminate or reform the filibuster amid Democrats’ push for voting rights reforms.

During a speech marking the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the President referred to the obstacles that the filibuster presents in getting his legislative agenda passed in a 50-50 Senate — and appeared to take issue with Manchin and Sinema’s reluctance towards eliminating or reforming the filibuster.

“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 moderate senators’ record of voting in favor of the President’s agenda, at least thus far.

Both Manchin and Sinema have become the main roadblocks to Senate Democrats’ efforts to abolish the filibuster.

Prior to Senate Republicans killing the House-passed bill for the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission by using the filibuster last month, Manchin said he remains opposed to breaking the filibuster and lowering the 60-vote threshold to get the commission bill passed through the Senate.

“I’m not ready to destroy our government,” Manchin said last month. “I think they will come together, you have to have faith that there’s 10 good people.”

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