"I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) wrote in an op-ed published Sunday in The Charleston Gazette-Mail. "And, for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act." The announcement appears to spell the end of the Democrats' sweeping voting rights bill, also known as H.R. 1, at least in its current form.
Manchin's opposition to the bill isn't surprising since he's keen on working with Republicans on crucial matters, and the legislation has no GOP support, even among centrists and those who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year.
"Congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward," Manchin wrote, and he echoed arguments that diverting attention from H.R. 1 toward H.R. 4, or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (which would reauthorize and strengthen the original 1965 Voting Rights Act), is the way to do that. "I continue to engage with my Republican and Democratic colleagues about the value of the [bill], and I am encouraged by the desire from both sides to transcend politics and strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights."
In the same piece, Manchin also reiterated that he does not support getting rid of the filibuster, despite pressure from his Democratic colleagues, to pass H.R. 1 or other bills. "What I've seen during my time in Washington is that every party in power will always want to exercise absolute power, absolutely," he warned. "Our founders were wise to see the temptation of absolute power and built in specific checks and balances to force compromise that serves to preserve our fragile democracy." Read the full op-ed at The Charleston Gazette-Mail.