Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has come out against the Democratic voting bill, attracting pushback from Democratic colleagues.
Published on Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin’s op-ed also cemented his unwillingness to abolish the filibuster, much to his party’s dismay.
Manchin, the only Democrat senator not co-sponsoring the legislation, holds the key to the bill’s passage, which means to abolish the filibuster by requiring a mere 50 votes rather than 60 —which the senator made clear he will not do.
“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy,” the senator explained in the op-ed, “and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.”
The progressive voting bill H.R. 1, also known as “For the People Act of 2021” passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, while a similar version, S. 1, is set for the Senate.
Regarding the filibuster, Manchin has argued that the procedural rule has protected minority rights in the past — often benefiting Democrats. Therefore, they should be slow to kill it.
His decision to stand alone in the name of bipartisanship and principle has resulted in his own Democratic colleagues publicly slamming his decision.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) blasted Manchin as an obstruction to democracy.
“Now Joe Manchin is doing everything in his power to stop democracy and to stop our work for the people,” Bowman told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
He continued, “Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship. He is doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist.”
Democratic criticism of Manchin doesn’t stop with Bowman, however, as Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) joined in bashing the senator from West Virginia.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, Jones declared that Manchin’s unwillingness to abolish the filibuster indicates he “would rather preserve Jim Crow on some outdated theory of bipartisanship that frankly does not exist,” according to HuffPost.
Jones’ criticisms were not solely directed at Manchin, as he continued to blast the notion of bipartisanship in general.
“Bipartisanship is not something that should have inherent value when the other side is actively working to dismantle our democracy,” Jones said.
Hoping that Manchin eventually falls in line with the rest of the party, Jones called on the President Joe Biden to use his power and influence.
“I would like to see the president rise to the occasion, to use the stature of his office, the bully pulpit, to make Joe Manchin and [Democratic Arizona Sen.] Kyrsten Sinema understand that this is necessary,” Jones urged. “And yes, to educate them on the ahistorical understanding that they have of the filibuster and of what will be required to protect the right to vote in this country.”