WASHINGTON – West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III said unequivocally on Sunday that he would not vote for the Democrats’ sweeping bill to fight voter suppression and restore ethical checks to Donald’s shattered presidency J. Trump.
In an opinion piece published in a West Virginia newspaper, Mr Manchin, a Democrat, also reiterated his strong opposition to ending the Senate legislative filibuster, which would appear to end many of the legislative goals. the most ambitious of President Biden.
The bill, the For the People Act, would overturn dozens of laws passed by Republican state legislatures to limit early and mail-in voting and allow partisan poll observers and vote monitoring. It would also require major party presidential and vice-presidential candidates to publish 10 years of personal and business income tax returns and end the president’s and vice-president’s exemption from conflict rules. ‘interests of the executive branch, which allowed Mr. companies who profited from his presidency.
“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakened ties of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. In addition, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster, ”Mr. Manchin wrote in The Charleston Gazette-Mail, his state capital newspaper.
Under Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to end debate and break the filibuster on political legislation. The Republican and Democratic Senates have reduced filibustering, ensuring that most executive and judicial nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes. A fiscal rule, called reconciliation, has also been extended to pass ambitious legislation under the guise of spending and taxation. Huge tax cuts imposed by President George W. Bush and Mr. Trump have passed by simple majority as budget bills, as have parts of the Affordable Care Act and a bill. $ 1.9 trillion in Covid-19 relief earlier this year.
But purely political bills still have a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and the 48 Democrats and the two liberal-leaning independents are expected to line up to change that rule. Even if they did, the 50 would have to vote for the voting rights and ethics bill, given that no Republican is supposed to support it.
Instead, Manchin said he would support the passage of another bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore federal oversight over state-level electoral law changes to protect minority groups. that could be targeted. He cited a Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, as a supporter of the measure.
But he is still far from the threshold of 60 votes he supports to pass even this bill.
“I continue to discuss with my fellow Republicans and Democrats the value of the John Lewis Advancement Voting Rights Act and am encouraged by the desire on both sides to transcend partisan politics and strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights, “wrote Manchin. .
Mr Manchin’s opposition to ending filibustering and supporting strictly Democratic bills could have implications beyond voting rights. He backed the pandemic bill this year, which adopted party lines, but Democratic leaders plan to adopt other measures as part of the reconciliation, including a bill on reconciliation. infrastructure that will most likely exceed $ 1 trillion.
Mr Manchin declined to say how he would vote on a party line infrastructure bill, saying that a bipartisan group of senators negotiating a deal that could get at least 60 votes is’ not that far away one of the other”.
“I still have all the confidence in the world,” Mr Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday”. ” We will get there. My God, the president went from $ 2.25 trillion to $ 1 trillion. Republicans have come a long way from where they started. “
Amid months of false claims by former President Donald J. Trump that the 2020 election was stolen from him, Republican lawmakers in many states are pushing forward to pass laws that make it harder to vote and change how elections are conducted, frustrating Democrats and even some election officials from their own party.
- A key subject: Election rules and procedures have become a central issue in American politics. The Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal-leaning law and justice institute at New York University, has 361 bills in 47 states seeking to tighten up voting rules. At the same time, 843 bills were tabled with provisions aimed at improving access to the vote.
- The basic measures: Restrictions vary by state, but may include limiting the use of ballot boxes, adding identification requirements for voters requesting mail-in ballots, and removing local laws that allow automatic registration. for postal voting.
- No more extreme measures: Some measures go beyond changing the way people vote, including fine-tuning the rules of the electoral college and judicial elections, cracking down on citizen-led voting initiatives and banning private donations that provide resources for administration of elections.
- Repel: This Republican effort led Democrats in Congress to find a way to pass federal election laws. A sweeping voting rights bill was passed by the House in March, but faces tough hurdles in the Senate. Republicans have remained united against the proposal and even if the bill becomes law, it would likely face significant legal challenges.
- Florida: The measures here include limiting the use of drop boxes, adding more identification requirements for mail ballots, requiring voters to request one mail ballot for each election, limiting who can collect and deposit ballots, and empowering partisan observers during the counting process.
- Texas: The next big move could happen here, where Republicans in the legislature dismiss objections from corporate titans and move forward on a sweeping election bill that is said to be among the toughest in the country. It would impose new restrictions on early voting, ban drive-thru voting, threaten election officials with tougher penalties, and empower poll watchers.
- Other states: The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature has passed a bill that would limit the distribution of mail-in ballots. The bill, which includes removing voters from the state’s permanent early voting list if they don’t vote at least once every two years, may be just the first in a series of restrictions of votes to be adopted there. Republicans in Georgia enacted sweeping new election laws in March that restrict ballot boxes and make it a crime to distribute water within certain limits of a polling station. Iowa has also imposed new limits, including reducing the early voting period and the hours for in-person voting on election day. And bills to restrict the vote were passed by the Michigan Republicans-led legislature.
He was firm on the voting rights bill, saying passing it in a party line vote would further divide the country, which sees state after state adopt party line voting restrictions where Republicans control the legislature and the governor’s office.
“I think it is not the right law to bring our country together,” Manchin said. “I don’t want to be in a country more divided than I am now”
“I am not naive,” insisted Mr. Manchin, acknowledging that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader of the Senate, had vowed to block Mr. Biden’s agenda. “We’d be a lot better off if we had turnout, and we get turnout, but when the time comes for the final vote…” He paused.
He also suggested that Senate Democrats were partly responsible for the current dilemma over filibustering in the Senate, noting that it was then Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada who first deleted times parts of the filibuster in 2013.
“What is happening comes here, they all understand it,” Manchin said. “And there were 33 Democrats in 2017 who signed a letter to ‘please save the obstruction and save our democracy.’ That’s what I’m trying to do.
Chris Cameron contributed reports.