Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is staunchly opposed to Democrats’ voting rights legislation on the basis that no Republicans support the bill, maintaining that he would instead support a bipartisan measure.
But Business Insider noted on Tuesday that Manchin was a co-sponsor of the very same bill in 2019, despite no Republicans supporting the legislation at that time.
Manchin’s refusal to back the For the People Act has tanked Democrats’ hopes of passing sweeping election reforms. The House narrowly passed the bill in March, with zero votes from Republicans.
As the Senate is evenly divided, relying on a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, Manchin can single-handedly block the bill’s passage.
In an op-ed article for the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, Manchin argued that he couldn’t support a voting-rights bill with no bipartisan support.
But Manchin was a cosponsor of a version of the bill introduced in 2019 that had no GOP cosponsors, a fact that his critics have highlighted.
That March, when Democrats did not have a majority in the Senate, Manchin joined 45 others in an effort led by Sen. Jeff Merkley to pass the bill.
Insider reported that only one Republican — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — has come out in support of the narrower piece of voting-rights legislation Manchin has championed, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Further, it appears unlikely that more Republicans will come on board after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he opposes the bill, calling it “unnecessary.”
Image credit: Screengrab / Senate Energy Dems, Chairman Joe Manchin III / YouTube