Manchin calls for bipartisan voting bill amid pressure to nix filibuster
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that any voting rights legislation in the Senate should be bipartisan, even as other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus float nixing the filibuster to pass measures that would make sweeping reforms to elections and the financing of campaigns.
“As the Senate prepares to take up the For the People Act, we must work toward a bipartisan solution that protects everyone’s right to vote, secures our elections from foreign interference, and increases transparency in our campaign finance laws,” Manchin said in a statement.
“Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the U.S. government. We can and we must reform our federal elections together — not as Democrats and Republicans,” he added.
Manchin’s statement comes as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed that the Senate will pass the sweeping election reform bill, saying on the Senate floor this week that S. 1, the formal bill number the Senate’s duplicate legislation, “will pass this body.”
Republicans have panned the bill as overly broad and say it would shift control of elections from the states to the federal government.
No Republicans are co-sponsors, sparking calls from progressive activists to nix the filibuster to pass the bill. In a sign of the growing support that idea has, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) penned an op-ed this week signaling that he would nix the 60-vote legislative filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation.
But in order to invoke the “nuclear option” to change the rules, supporters would need all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, meaning that they would need Manchin — one of several Democratic senators either concerned or opposed to nixing the 60-vote hurdle required for most legislation.
Manchin, in his statement, said that there were some “legitimate concerns” about the bill but pointed out provisions in it that he thought could get bipartisan support.
Manchin pointed to expanding the number of early voting days in every state and providing more resources for “historically disenfranchised and underrepresented” groups to be able to vote.
He also noted that there were bipartisan proposals in the bill such as a higher level of disclosure about what groups are paying for ads, including requiring that online ads have the same disclosure rules as TV or print ads.
“There are bipartisan proposals embedded in this bill that can strike the right balance and make great strides on each of these issues. Instead of arguing about the election reforms on which we disagree, Congress should be working together to enact those on which we can agree,” he said.
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