House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) alleged on June 13 that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) could be convinced to support the sweeping election reform bill that has received staunch opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
“I think he left the door open. I think it’s ajar. I’m not giving up,” Pelosi said.
Manchin announced last week that he would vote against S. 1, the companion to a House-passed election reform bill, because he believed it would “destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”
“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,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed for a West Virginia newspaper.
The senator emphasized throughout the piece that he wouldn’t back election reform legislation unless it had some measure of GOP support.
But Pelosi said that while Manchin governed West Virginia, he “initiated many of the ideas” that are included in S. 1. She didn’t mention which ideas from the bill were enacted by the former governor.
Pelosi later said she read the op-ed before claiming Manchin hadn’t ruled out voting for the bill.
“I don’t know anything specific about this, but I do know that he has certain concerns about the legislation that we may be able to come to terms on,” she said, before answering a question on whether the situation was “bridgeable.”
“I think so. Well, as I said to him, ‘I read the op-ed. You left the door open, and we’re going to go right in.'”
Pelosi was speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Manchin’s press secretary didn’t return a request for comment by press time.
The Senate is currently comprised of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats or nominal independents who are on the political left. To pass a bill typically requires 60 votes, but in certain scenarios, a simple majority can approve legislation.
Manchin’s opposition means S. 1 wouldn’t pass in any scenario.
Democrats argue the bill would increase voter access and strengthen election security. Republicans say they oppose S. 1 because it would dramatically increase federal control of elections, among other reasons.
Republican members of a subcommittee called Ashlee Titus of the Lawyers Democracy Fund to a recent hearing on the closure of polling locations. During the hearing, Titus said that H.R. 1, the companion bill to S. 1, “would override the effective election laws of most every state.”
The House passed H.R. 1 in March 220–211. No Republicans voted for the bill and one Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson, voted against it.
“My constituents opposed the redistricting portion of the bill as well as the section on public finances. I always listen and vote in the interest of my constituents,” he told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to bring S.1 to a vote soon. He said the legislation “is essential to defending our democracy, reducing the influence of dark money and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression happening in states across the country.”