President Joe Biden and others in the Democratic Party have been pushing hard for an aggressive legislative agenda that includes eliminating the Senate filibuster and overhauling the country’s voting system.
Doing those things will require the support of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D), though — and he’s made clear it isn’t going to happen. Manchin laid out his reasons in a Sunday op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“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,” the Democrat senator declared. “Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.”
“Help unite the country”
Manchin also said Sunday that “congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward,” lest “we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.”
He wrote for the Gazette-Mail: “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.”
As Fox News has reported, the For the People Act that Manchin so staunchly opposes is a wide-ranging piece of legislation that would eliminate many state-level election security measures while green-lighting widespread mail-in voting.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics,” Manchin insisted in his Sunday op-ed. The senator said that “protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.”
Manchin went on to recall in his op-ed his time spent as West Virginia’s secretary of state, noting that he “was determined to protect [the right to vote] and ensure our elections are fair, accessible and secure.”
However, Manchin complained that “we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized,” with lawmakers “seeking partisan advantage.”
“Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it,” he said.
Already a controversial figure within his party, Manchin’s stance is likely to earn him more ire from Democrats who see him as an obstacle to their goals.
The criticism has even come from President Joe Biden, who recently took a veiled shot at Manchin, as well as fellow moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). There are “two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends,” Biden said in an apparent snub of the lawmakers at an event last week commemorating the Tulsa Massacre, according to Fox.