Politics Joe Manchin to Oppose For the People Act, Says Partisan Voting Legislation Will Further 'Destroy' Democracy
Manchin's homegrown bipartisanship comes up against a changing world
When Joe Manchin was in the fight of his political life, vying for reelection in a state where being a Democrat had long been out of fashion, the senator's opening message to voters focused on the place he knew best: Farmington, West Virginia. © Maddie McGarvey for CNN Michael Angelucci, former state delegate, and Donna Costello, former mayor of Farmington.
Senator, a West Virginia Democrat, plans to oppose the For the People Act, placing himself at odds with President and the majority of Democratic lawmakers who support the major voting rights legislation.
Manchin wrote an opinion article published by the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, explaining why he plans to vote against the For the People Act and continues to oppose ending the filibuster. Biden and Democratic leaders have called for the passage of the major voting rights bill asin state legislatures across the country have that and activists have characterized as voter suppression.
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"Haven't you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?" the Fox News host asked Manchin.Since President Joe Biden took office and Democrats narrowly won control of the Senate, Manchin has emerged as one of the most powerful people in Washington, D.C. The moderate Democrat has repeatedly emphasized the need for bipartisanship and opposed ending the Senate's legislative filibuster—putting him at odds with many Democratic colleagues. With an evenly split Senate, Manchin's support or opposition to Democrats' legislative priorities has become a key factor in determining whether they move forward or not.
"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," Manchin wrote in his article. The senator noted that no Republicans haveof the For the People Act.
"Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating thefilibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They've attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past," the moderate Democrat continued.
Manchin has long insisted that he will not support ending, which in its current form generally requires at least 60 votes in the Senate to pass major legislation. The Senate is currently evenly split between (50 to 50), and due to the filibuster, Democrats need unanimous support within their caucus as well as 10 Republican votes to get major bills to pass through the legislative chamber.
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Hasan tore into Manchin for allegedly "aiding and abetting" Republicans.In an op-ed published Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin revealed that he will continue to oppose abolishing the filibuster and vote against the major Democratic voting rights bill. "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," he wrote.
While Biden has also defended the filibuster, many Democratic lawmakers are calling for the Senate to remove the filibuster so legislation can move forward with a simple majority vote.
"I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. 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 asserted in his article
The West Virginia senator consistently emphasizes what he sees as the importance of bipartisan compromise. While Republicans—and some Democrats—applaud Manchin for his efforts to work with the opposition, progressive Democrats have routinely criticized the senator's more conservative views and moderate approach to politics.
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WVa. Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Republican Shelley Moore Capito are positioned to swing key parts of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.West Virginia, which will be down to only two congressional seats after its next redistricting, isn't typically as powerful in Congress as larger, more populous counterparts such as California, New York and Texas.
Without Manchin's support for the For the People Act and ending the filibuster, the legislation appears all but dead within the current.
Manchin did express his desire to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which he noted has some level of bipartisan support.
"My Republican colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, has joined me in urging Senate leadership to update and pass this bill through regular order. 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," he wrote.
While the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is more modest and less sweeping in its scope than the full For the People Act, it is supported by Democrats and activists as an important step forward. Republicans have argued that the For the People Act would federalize elections and remove power from state officials. Democrats have contended that the voting rights legislation is necessary to respond to GOP-backed efforts across the country to limit voting—particularly within minority communities.
Manchin meets with civil rights leaders after rejecting voting bill
Manchin met virtually with leaders of several civil rights organizations on Tuesday morning.Manchin's public opposition has all but doomed H.R. 1, known as the For the People Act, which the Senate will still consider later this month amid sweeping efforts by Republican-led states to pass laws restricting voting rights.
Last week, Biden appeared to express frustration with Manchin and fellow moderate Democratic Senatorof Arizona. Both Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly voiced opposition to ending the filibuster and are often hold out votes within the Senate's Democratic Caucus when it comes to major bills.
"I hear all the folks on TV saying, 'Why doesn't Biden get this done?'" the president said last Tuesday.
"Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House, and a tie in the Senate," he said, "with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends."
Newsweek reached out to the White House and Senate Majority Leader's office for comment on Manchin's opposition to the For the People Act, but did not immediately receive responses.
Joe Manchin's "highly suspicious" reversal on voting bill follows donation from corporate lobby .
U.S. Chamber of Commerce sure loves Joe Manchin. Is that why his op-ed on voting bill echoed their talking points? Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) heads to a vote in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The spotlight on Sen. Manchin grew even brighter after declaring that he will vote against the Democrats voting rights bill, the For the People Act, in his op-ed that was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail over the weekend.