Being a skeptic, I’ve generally encouraged people not to rely upon Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) doing the right thing for us to be able to save the Republic from the Democrats’ overheated drive for power.
But I have to say that his words now appear to put a spike through those ambitions, at least in regards to their radical voting reform bill.
According to ABC, the Senate had an hours-long discussion about SB1, the Senate’s version of the Democrats’ HR1. It was so contentious, it deadlocked in the Rules Committee, indicating that it likely wouldn’t even be approved out of the Committee. It would need 60 votes to pass in a general Senate vote.
But Manchin indicated that it was effectively dead anyway because he would not support it.
“No matter what was brought up it was a partisan vote, 9-9,” Manchin said. “This is one of the most — I think — important things that we can do to try to bring our country back together and if we do it in a partisan way, it’s not going to be successful I believe.”
Manchin said he was talking with Republicans about the much narrower John Lewis Voting Rights Act that he, Manchin, supports that’s not as far-reaching or the power grab that SB1/HR 1 was to basically federalize elections. According to ABC, “the bill implements a federal process for reviewing changes to voting rules in any jurisdiction nationwide, with an eye toward measures that are historically discriminatory.”
But in any event, if there aren’t Republicans in agreement on that, Manchin said he wouldn’t be agreeing to that either, that he would not be approving any bill unless it was bipartisan. He said he wouldn’t support using reconciliation to bypass the 60 vote requirement and that he was still against blowing up the filibuster for it as well. “If you do it for one time you basically destroy the Senate as we know it,” Manchin said, and he’s refusing to do that, earning a lot of Democratic ire in the process. He’s also said that Democrats should remove the non-infrastructure items from the infrastructure bill.
While there can certainly be issues with state control of elections, HR 1 would have taken every slimy thing that Democrats try to employ now, like ballot harvesting, and given it the force of law federally. The bill would have banned requiring voter ID for elections. Republicans need to stand against any such attempt to federalize elections because it makes it too easy for a party in power to use it to remain in power.
So, good on Joe Manchin for standing up for the Constitution and proper process, standing in the breach against his own party.