Manchin Comes Out Against Democrats’ Election Bill

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced in an op-ed his opposition to a bill that would nationalize election laws.

“I cannot explain strictly partisan election reform or blowing up the Senate rules to expedite one party’s agenda,” Manchin wrote Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The announcement is another blow to HR1, which Democrats have dubbed the “For The People Act.” Republicans often refer to it as the “For The Politicians Act,” since it would grant matching funds to any candidate running for federal office.

The House passed HR1 in a near-party line, 220-210 vote. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson was the only Democrat to vote against the bill, while no Republicans supported it. (RELATED: Some Democrats Are Reportedly Afraid To Voice Concerns About Nationwide Election Overhaul)

“My constituents opposed the redistricting portion of the bill as well as the section on public finances. I always listen and vote in the interest of my constituents,” Thompson later told Fox News.

HR1 would also prohibit voter ID requirements, allow ballot-harvesting in all 50 states, and allow convicted felons to vote in state and federal elections. An amendment would allow the attorney general to require social media sites to censor posts.

No Republicans in the Senate are expected to support HR1 should it come to a vote. In response, congressional Democrats and members of the press have slammed them as opposed to democracy.

Manchin objects to those criticisms. “Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?”

“Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it,” he added.

Manchin also affirmed his support for maintaining the filibuster.

“When Republicans held control of the White House and Congress, President Donald Trump was publicly urging Senate Republicans to eliminate the filibuster. Then, it was Senate Democrats who were proudly defending the filibuster. Thirty-three Senate Democrats penned a letter to Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warning of the perils of eliminating the filibuster,” he wrote.

Manchin has repeatedly defended the filibuster, despite increasing opposition to it from his own party.

“I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd in March.