The pressure on Sen continues to mount. Joe Manchin in support of Democrats’ reform legislation, with one Plow member writing a new opinion in which he uses the . accuses West Virginia moderate of protecting “Jim Crow” relics.
Rep. Mondaire Jones, DN.Y., invoked Manchin in an essay entitled “The House of Democracy is on fire. We have to make itwhere he said the senator must make a choice between his long-awaited desire for a two-pronged compromise and saving democracy.
“By damning our democracy in the name of bipartisanship, Senator Manchin is betraying both,” Jones wrote, arguing that the provisions of the electoral reform legislation enjoy broad support outside the partisan Senate.
Jones, a freshman progressive in the House, criticized Manchin for also wanting to protect the filibuster, saying he supports discriminatory voting.
“We can’t let this relic of Jim Crow cement the new Jim Crow,” Jones wrote of the filibuster.
Despite the outcry from the left and the increased outreach from activists, Manchin, DW.Va., is showing no signs of opposing his opposition to the For the People Act, known as HR 1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate .
Manchin says the legislation is too partisan and voting reforms should be the result of a two-pronged compromise. Manchin also said he will not blow up the Senate filibuster because he does not support absolute power for one party.
“I believe partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening ties of our democracy, and for that reason I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin said. wrote in an opinion piece on Sunday in the Charleston Gazette Mail.
With the Senate split 50-50, the Democrats’ only chance of passing this legislation would be to get 10 Republicans on board, which won’t happen with the GOP firmly in opposition. Or, if the Democrats remained fully united, they could pass the legislation if they also agreed to abolish the legislative filibuster that requires a 60-vote threshold.
But Manchin’s opposition is not giving Democrats viable options to pass their top-priority legislation in its current form. Manchin has suggested the way forward is a separate voting rights bill named after the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, but Jones and other Democrats say that bill is no substitute for the sweeping reforms S.1 would impose.
At a meeting outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, activists, along with Democratic lawmakers, stepped up pressure on Manchin to change his mind.
“We have a bill that America supports,” said Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, who helped draft the bill in the House. “The For The People Act is supported by Democrats, Independents and Republicans from across the country in every state, including West Virginia.”
Fellow senators at the meeting were hesitant to name their colleague, but progressive activists made it clear who they were targeting.
“I want to say to Senator Manchin, if you can’t bring this bill forward and support the reforms and the most sweeping civil rights law in 50 years, what the hell is the Senate for?” said Matt Keller, vice president of Democracy 21.
Ben Jealous, president of the progressive People for the American way, Manchin said should realize that the provisions of the bill are popular.
“Inactivity is not an option. Democracy is at stake,” Jealous said. “People have been clear, and Joe Manchin needs to understand that what 80% of the American people agree on, guess what, West Virginians overwhelmingly agree too.”
Progressives view the S.1 voting legislation as an urgent remedy to efforts in GOP-led states to impose stricter voting requirements after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
The legislation sets federal standards for polling access, early voting and postal voting and weakens state-imposed voter identification requirements by allowing people without photo ID to still vote by signing affidavits.
The sweeping Election Review Act would new government financing system for congressional and presidential elections to boost small-dollar donations, introduce automatic voter registration, restore voting rights for criminals after serving their sentences, and require same-day voter registration.
Manchin Tuesday acknowledged the problems he is causing progressives and responded to Squad member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., who called him the “new Mitch McConnell” for obstructing the Democratic agenda.
“I understand the frustrations,” Manchin said. “You know, this is a tough case that we’re in.”
Kelly Phares of Fox News contributed to this report.