Sen. Joe Manchin will not back the For the People Act, the sweeping elections and campaign finance overhaul sought by Democrats to blunt Republican state-level efforts to restrict voting access, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Democrat confirmed Wednesday.
Manchin — who had previously expressed reservations about moving forward with a far-reaching measure without bipartisan support — suggested instead using the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as the path forward.
Manchin’s proposal comes just one day after the Senate Rules Committee deadlocked 9-9 along partisan lines on passing the For the People Act out of committee Tuesday, revealing the tough path ahead for the Democratic legislation, which touches on everything from rules for early voting to public funding for Senate candidates.
Manchin’s suggestion for voting rights legislation — the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — is a bill far less sweeping than the For the People Act, but brings back major pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, including a provision that require states to consult with the federal government before making major changes to their voting rules.
Manchin’s support of that bill was first reported by ABC News.
In recent weeks, Manchin has had conversations with Democratic colleagues Rep. Jim Clyburn and Sen. Raphael Warnock, both of whom have fought to pass the For the People’s Act.
The West Virginia Democrat’s proposal Wednesday comes ahead of a Democratic-wide conference meeting on the For the People Act scheduled for Thursday.
The legislation, a version of which passed the House earlier this year, would mandate 15 days of early voting, allow same-day voter registration and limit states’ ability to curb mail-in voting and the use of ballot boxes. It also rewrites federal campaign finance rules, sets out new ethics requirements for the president and seeks to end partisan gerrymandering.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could still bring the bill to the floor, the vote in committee was a reminder that the legislation will not have the 60 votes needed to pass and has no Republican support.
On Tuesday, Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, repeatedly took aim at the 800-plus-page legislation with a raft of amendments that forced Democrats to cast a series of controversial votes.