Manchin defended his position Sunday saying that he is not willing to change Senate rules to help Democrats push through much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette.
Manchin added “the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized,” and called out other Democratic lawmakers who have “attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”
Manchin might believe he’s saving Democracy with his position, but other members of his party waste little time lashing out at the West Virginia Democrat.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) compared Manchin to Mitch McConnell and added Manchin is trying to thwart the Democratic 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),” Bowman told CNN’s, John Berman. “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.
“Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship. He is doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist, just like they’ve been since the beginning of Biden’s presidency.”
In his op-ed, Manchin cautioned those trying to get rid of the 60-vote filibuster, mentioning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s move in 2013 to remove the 60-vote filibuster standard for presidential nominees other than those on the Supreme Court.
The move by Reid allowed Republicans to install a conservative majority in the Supreme Court during the Trump administration.
Because he doesn’t support eliminating the filibuster, Manchin urged the Senate to update and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Although it is a narrower election bill, it does reinstate vital pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and has the support of at least one Republican, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.