Sen. Joe Manchin will vote “yes” on advancing a controversial piece of voting reform legislation on Tuesday, though he doesn’t support the underlying legislation, in a deal he reached with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., so all 50 Democrats will be united.
Still, the support from the moderate West Virginia Democrat won’t be enough for the “For the People Act” to clear a critical procedural hurdle Tuesday because Republicans are filibustering the sweeping election legislation that requires 60 votes to advance.
“I’m pleased to report that Senator Manchin and I have come to an agreement on this,” Schumer announced during a news conference Tuesday before the vote. “He came to my office about two hours ago, and we worked it out.”
In return, Schumer agreed to allow Manchin’s compromise legislation to come up for a vote if Republicans didn’t filibuster and debate were to proceed.
Manchin confirmed in a statement he will vote “yes” on the procedural motion Tuesday. Manchin, who was been seeking to find a bipartisan compromise, offered criticism of his GOP colleagues for not joining him to at least begin an honest debate on the floor on voting reforms.
“Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues refused to allow debate of this legislation despite the reasonable changes made to focus the bill on the core issues facing our democracy,” Manchin said. “As I have said before, the right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics. I remain committed to finding a bipartisan pathway forward because the future of our democracy is worth it.”
The vote is expected to take place around 5:30 p.m Tuesday on a motion to proceed to debate the bill – not an up or down vote on the merits of the legislation. Republicans are poised to block the bill from going forward – dealing a big defeat to Democrats’ top legislative priority.
The White House strongly supports the bill as an antidote to efforts in GOP states to enact new stricter voting access bills but said Tuesday it is open to working on updated versions of the bill.
“Democracy is in peril, here, in America,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement supporting the bill. “The right to vote – a sacred right in this country – is under assault with an intensity and an aggressiveness we have not seen in a long time.”