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Joe Manchin will oppose For the People Act, putting Senate’s voting rights


8:13 pm
June 6, 2021



Posts: 283


WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin, the pivotal Democrat in a split Senate, announced he will vote against Democrats’ flagship voting reform package, the For the People Act, in a major blow to the party’s ambitions on voting rights.

“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,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed published Sunday in the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail.

Manchin’s decision to oppose the legislation, which would allow the federal government greater ability to implement a standard election framework across the country and allow the federal government to enforce civil rights law, was rooted in his desire for bipartisanship and opposition to what he sees as a near-sighted partisan effort by Democrats.

While the House passed the bill in March, the legislation has been bogged down in the Senate, where a 60-vote filibuster is necessary to advance legislation. Manchin has repeatedly said he will not vote to eliminate the filibuster, a Senate rule with a complicated history.

Related:’Hell was unleashed’: Biden urges reckoning on race at Tulsa massacre anniversary, taps Harris to lead on voting rights

Manchin reiterated he is not interested in reforms to the filibuster on voting rights, something that Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., a veteran of the civil rights movement and staunch voting rights advocate, has pressed Manchin on in the past.

“Of course, some in my party have argued that now is the time to discard such bipartisan voting reforms and embrace election reforms and policies solely supported by one party. Respectfully, I do not agree,” the senator wrote.

With his latest announcement, the West Virginia Democrat has likely ended the legislation’s chances of passage.

Instead of passing the bill’s Senate version, known as S.1, Manchin argued the upper chamber should pass a reinforced version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would reinstate the 1965 Voting Rights Act with some additional provisions.

“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,” Manchin wrote.

OnPolitics: Joe Manchin, Washington’s most influential Democrat

Capitol Hill Democrats and the White House have made it clear that expanding access to voting is a top priority for the party.

Democrats’ coalescing around the issue comes as Republican-controlled states across the country pass a series of election security laws that critics argue will make it harder to vote, especially for people of color and Democratic-leaning constituencies.

On Tuesday, Biden announced Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the administration’s push to expand voting rights legislation and other measures across the country.

S.1’s potential demise will likely affect the administration’s strategy on voting rights going forward.

Speaking at an event in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Biden said “it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work” to combat the “assault on our democracy” posed by the current slate of election bills but that Harris was ready for the task.