Manchin did not personally meet with Texas legislators lobbying for election overhaul

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A group of Texas Democratic state lawmakers who helped block the passage of a state Republican election bill arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby for federal election overhaul legislation, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

They hope to woo Democrats into action by sharing their concerns with Republican state-level legislation and tactics for derailing it. Some floated a limited “nuclear option” to get around the filibuster if necessary. But they have yet to make direct contact with the most important Democrat standing in the way of passing the flagship bill: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

The legislators spoke at a Democratic caucus lunch and are set to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Manchin confirmed to the Washington Examiner that two of the state lawmakers met with top members of the Democratic senator’s staff — but not the senator himself. Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said the meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

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“It was a real meeting, and I'm grateful for that,“ Martinez Fischer said, adding it is good to get a better sense of Manchin’s thinking. While he declined to comment on Manchin’s decisions or timeline, he said he has an offer to meet with the senator’s office again. “I left there with hope and inspiration.”

The H.R. 1/S.1 For the People Act passed the House earlier this year and is expected to head to the Senate floor for a vote later this month, where it is expected to fail without Manchin’s support in the evenly divided Senate. Manchin said he does not support the bill because of its lack of bipartisan backing and would not support ending the 60-vote filibuster threshold to move it through without Republican support.

Last month, Texas state Democrats staged a walk-out that prevented the Republican House majority from passing a wide-ranging election bill. On Tuesday, they used the sensation of the walkout to argue it is urgent to pass the federal bills to block similar Republican measures.

"As long as we make sure that we protect the right to vote, I don't really care how we get there,” said Texas State Rep. Jasmine Crockett. “If we get there because we get the votes, because we're talking to Democrats, and we're talking to Republicans, then that works for me. If we get there because we have to get rid of the filibuster on this specific issue, then that works for me.”

She said her state caucus evaluated their options to block the Republican Texas voting bill before deciding on a walkout, perhaps teaching Congressional Democrats to stay flexible.

“If we get to the point that we can't protect our democracy, but for getting rid of the filibuster, that’s what we would be calling for,” Crockett said, implying her delegation is not to that point yet.

Rep. Marc Veasey, a former Texas state legislator, recalled Republicans in the state Legislature using a limited filibuster workaround to pass legislation. He noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett during an election year in 2020 despite declining to hold hearings for now-Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was a Supreme Court nominee in 2016.

“Republicans are always changing these rules,” Veasey said, “and we need to look more closely at them, particularly if we can stop people from being discriminated against.”

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Conservative groups backing election integrity legislation like the bill Texas Democrats blocked expressed disapproval with the lobbying effort.

“For months now, Democrats in Washington have been recycling misleading talking points to intimidate Americans and push their own false narrative against common-sense election integrity efforts at the state level,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of the conservative Heritage Action for America. “Democrats in Washington are becoming increasingly scared of grassroots efforts to secure our elections. That’s why Vice President Harris and congressional Democrats have flown Texas lawmakers who blocked their own state’s election integrity bill up to Washington to lobby for S. 1, the Corrupt Politicians Act."

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Tags: News, Texas, Congress, Democrats, 2020 Elections, Voting rights

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: Manchin did not personally meet with Texas legislators lobbying for election overhaul

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