(USA Features) Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Tuesday his opposition stands to a broad voting reform bill backed by his party but opposed by nearly all Republicans after a “constructive” meeting with black civil rights leaders.
“There was nothing basically for or against … basically everyone’s position was discussed,” Manchin told reporters on Tuesday after meeting with NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Al Sharpton, National Urban League president Marc Morial, and others.
When asked if he would support the “For The People Act” following the meeting, Manchin said, “No, I don’t think anybody changed positions on that.”
Republicans oppose the bill because it would take away state control over elections, where it has historically remained and where the Constitution says it primarily belongs. It would also ban states from updating voter registration rolls, limit so-called gerrymandering of districts, change campaign finance laws, and prevent states from requiring voter ID.
“I’m very honored that we all got the chance to speak, listen to each other. That’s really what it’s about. We learned and listened,” Manchin also said of his meeting on Tuesday. “We had a constructive conversation. I think everybody pretty much knows the importance of what we’re doing. And I think I’m very much concerned about our democracy, protecting people’s voting rights.”
Manchin has also said he opposes Democratic calls to ditch the 60-vote filibuster rule, noting that when Republicans were in control of the chamber, his party opposed calls to do away with the rule then, as well.
Nevertheless, left-wing Democrats have blasted Manchin for his opposition, which they claim is stalling President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell during Obama’s presidency said he would do everything in his power to stop (then-President Barack Obama),” Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York told CNN this week.
“He’s also repeated that now during the Biden presidency by saying he would do everything in his power to stop President Biden, and now Joe Manchin is doing everything in his power to stop democracy and to stop our work for the people, the work that the people sent us here to do,” Bowman continued.
Manchin has said he does not want to support such a broad voter reform bill without at least some Republican support because it’s too important of an issue for one party to go it alone.