Progressive rep: 'Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell'

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in an interview early Monday compared Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (D-W.Va.) to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Ky.) for voicing opposition to legislation on voting rights.

"Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell," the progressive first-term lawmaker said during an appearance on CNN's "New Day." "Now Joe Manchin is doing everything in his power to stop democracy and stop our work for the people." 

In an op-ed published Sunday morning in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin, a conservative Democrat from a state that voted overwhelmingly for former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE in the previous two presidential elections, announced he would vote against the For the People Act  a massive bill to overhaul elections in America. 

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"I think it will divide us further. I don't want to be in a country divided any further than I'm in right now. I love my country, and I think my Democrat and Republican colleagues feel the same," Manchin said of his decision later on "Fox News Sunday." "If we continue to divide it and separate us more, it's not going to be united. It's not going to be the country that we love and know, and it's going to be hard because it'll be the back and forth, no matter who's in power." 

Bowman on Monday said Manchin's opposition to the bill is akin to rhetoric espoused during the Obama era by McConnell, who at the time boasted he would do everything in his power as the Republican leader to stop the White House's agenda.

"Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship, he's doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist, just like they've been since the beginning of Biden's presidency," Bowman said on CNN. 

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Manchin's decision leaves the fate of the voting rights legislation, which was passed by the Democratically controlled House, in serious jeopardy, with the Senate split evenly at 50-50. 

CNN host John Berman pressed Bowman on if the comparison to McConnell was "really fair," considering there is "no Democrat on Earth" outside of Manchin who could be a senator from West Virginia, saying, "If you didn't have Joe Manchin, there's almost zero chance you'd have a Democrat from West Virginia and zero chance you'd have control of the Senate." 

Bowman argued the legislation has broad support among all Americans, including in West Virginia, and among a majority of Republicans. 

The progressive lawmaker also took a shot at Manchin for comments he made recently saying he was "hopeful" more Republicans in the upper chamber will seek more bipartisan legislation, voting "for what's right and the facts as they see them, not worrying about the political consequences." 

"This is not about hope," Bowman said. "This is about doing the work ... it's easy for us to say what we're not going to vote for and not going to do ... it's much harder to do the work."