House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) smiled broadly on Sunday as she announces she hasn’t given up on Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow Democrat who opposes voting legislation Democrats are so eager to pass. (Photo: Screen capture)
(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said several times he will not vote for S-1, the “For the People Act,” which would allow the federal government to relax state voting rules.
Democrats say the bill is intended to prevent voter “suppression.” Republicans say the bill would make it easier for voters to cheat.
In the 50-50 Senate, Democrats need all hands on deck, but they don’t have Manchin’s support — or do they?
“I don’t give up on Joe Manchin,” a smiling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday:
When he was governor and secretary of state in West Virginia, he initiated many of the ideas that are in the HR1, S.1, the “For the People Act,” the “For the People.”
And it’s not necessarily a rewriting. It’s stopping. The first 300 pages of S.1, the “For the People Act,” HR1, were written by John Lewis to stop the voter suppression.
The — the initiative that is there to stop partisan gerrymandering and redistricting is really essential for the health of our country. Democrats shouldn’t be gerrymandering and Republicans shouldn’t. The commission piece in there is very important. And that would be new.
The — stopping the big, dark, special interest money from suffocating the airwaves, why do you think we cannot have climate language that is easy to come to agreement? Why do you think we do not have gun violence protection? It’s because of that big, dark money.
And the public knows, it knows that that money is — has — stands in the way of good policy, and, again, to give voice to small donors and the grassroots.
In a recent op-ed, Manchin wrote: “[C]ongressional 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 truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.”
Manchin said he not only will vote against the “For the People Act,” “I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.”
Pelosi said she read Manchin’s op-ed: “I think he left the door open. I think it’s ajar. I’m not giving up,” she said.
Host Dana Bash asked Pelosi, “Is there something you know that we don’t know…or a lot of people in your caucus who are really upset don’t know about Joe Manchin and the possibility of getting this election reform through the Senate?”
“No,” Pelosi said. “Well, 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.”
“So, it’s bridgeable?” Bash asked Pelosi.
“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 said her “conversations” with Manchin “were more about the commission, and in the course of that conversation–but in any case, let’s just put this in its proper place. Our democracy is at stake. What the Republicans are doing across the country, even since we wrote — this is — we have had this in the election of 2018. A hundred candidates wrote and said, make For the People, HR1, the first order of business.”
(The legislation would create independent redistricting commissions, removing the ability of state legislatures to draw congressional maps.)
Pelosi accused “Republicans across the country” of “undermining our democracy, suppressing the vote, ignoring the sanctity of the vote, which is the basis for our democracy.
“And so we cannot let that stand. We have to make this fight for our democracy. It isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about partisanship. Forget that. It’s about patriotism. So, we must pass this.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said the Senate will vote on S.1 in the week of June 21.