Joe Manchin said Tuesday that he hasn’t budged on his opposition to Democrats’ sweeping election overhaul bill following a “productive” meeting with civil rights leaders attempting to sway him.
The West Virginia Democratic senator on Tuesday morning reportedly met with civil rights leaders who support voting rights and election reforms, including Al Sharpton, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Urban League President Marc Morial.
“I don’t think anybody changed positions on that. We’re just learning where everybody’s coming from,” Manchin told the press pool when asked whether the meeting changed his position in any way on his opposition to the S. 1 For the People Act.
Still, Manchin said that he had a “constructive” and “informative” conversation with the leaders. “I’m very much concerned about our democracy, protecting peoples’ voting rights, making sure that that’s done, and making sure we understand how fragile — how fragile we are as a country today.”
Manchin on Sunday wrote in an op-ed that he would vote against the bill, which includes substantial structural election changes such as nationwide automatic voter registration and public financing for federal elections, because of its lack of bipartisan support. He reiterated that he would not support ending the 60-vote filibuster threshold in order to move it through an evenly divided Senate without any Republican support.
Instead, Manchin argued, the focus should be on a different piece of election reform legislation: the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which aims to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after a 2013 Supreme Court decision found that the formula for determining whether a state’s voting laws can be reviewed by a federal court is outdated.
Manchin did not reveal whether he discussed his support for the alternative bill with the leaders.
His opposition prompted vocal frustration from Democrats who argue that the bill is necessary to protect voting rights. Some Democrats accused him of preserving Jim Crow and compared him to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for “doing everything in his power to stop democracy.”
Manchin that he understood the frustration when asked about Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s comparison to McConnell.
Manchin said that he would “continue conversations” with the leaders going forward.
Original Author: Emily Brooks