Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had an unwelcome announcement for President Joe Biden and his Democratic colleagues over the weekend.
During an appearance Sunday on Fox News, Manchin made clear his opposition to the Democrats’ massive election reform bill, S.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, the Daily Caller reported.
“I’m not supporting that”
“I think it’s the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unite our country and I’m not supporting that because I think it would divide us further,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday, according to the Daily Caller. “I don’t want to be in a country that’s divided any further than I’m in right now.”
While Manchin said he believes “there’s a lot of great things” in the legislation, there are also “an awful lot of things that basically don’t pertain directly to voting,” he explained.
Manchin also explained his decision to vote against the bill in a Sunday op-ed for West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“Congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials,” the senator wrote.
Manchin’s decision to oppose the bill likely means the legislation has no chance of moving forward. With the current 50–50 split in the Senate, Democrats cannot afford to lose any Democrats, especially on more radical pieces of legislation like S.R. 1 where they’re unlikely to gain any Republican support.
Manchin received harsh criticism from a number of Democrats on Sunday following his announcement.
Jenna Valle-Riestra, Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) press secretary, tweeted, “All I’m saying is I don’t think our founding fathers anticipated the survival of this democratic experiment to rest in the hands of a man who lives in a house boat.”
Not long after posting the tweet, however, Valle-Riestra deleted it, locked her account, and scrubbed her biography, including her employment under Durbin.
Jemele Hill, a staff writer at The Atlantic, also had some particularly harsh words for Manchin, writing: “Record number of black voters show up to save this democracy, only for white supremacy to be upheld by a cowardly, power-hungry white dude. [Manchin] is a clown.”
Other Democrats in the media have also criticized Manchin for his stance on upholding the Senate filibuster, including CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo.