Democrats rushed to secure West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on the eve of voting for their sweeping federal bill reform, but the lone holdout has refused to commit to promoting the measure without assurance that his proposal will be included.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will force a procedural vote for the For the People Act on Tuesday, which is expected to fail with all Republican members voting against it. Still, Democrats want to send a unified message in contrast to their colleagues’ likely unanimous opposition to the bill.
Manchin told reporters Monday night that he needs assurances that his ideas would be passed into the bill before committing to supporting it.
“I hope they make some changes, agree on some changes,”
The Senator’s proposed compromise proposal resets the handling of biased gerrymandering and strengthening early voting, while abandoning other provisions, including regulating campaign funding systems and ethical rules for candidates.
The roughly 800-page HR1 legislation passed in Parliament, largely in the direction of party lines in March. It contains measures that will facilitate voting, make campaign funding more transparent and improve government ethics.
Democrats describe their expansive proposal as anti-corruption legislation that will increase voting rights and counter GOP efforts at the state and local levels to curtail voting rights. Republicans have strongly opposed the bill, calling it a democratic coup.
Democratic leaders tried and failed to nail Manchin’s support over the weekend. Schumer said Sunday: “As we speak, we are working to reach an agreement to compromise with Joe Manchin.”
Manchin reportedly met with White House President Joe Biden earlier today to continue the election reform talks, in which the president expressed optimism about the Senate’s ability to find a way to implement the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin revealed Monday afternoon that he “did not know” how Manchin would vote, but said he hopes the senator will “move on.”
GOP lawmakers in 48 states have introduced nearly 400 bills to limit voting. Critics argue that GOP members are trying to make voter turnout more difficult for Democratic voters. For the People People Act would enforce federal uniform voting rights across the country.
While there is a way to reach 50 votes, with Manchin, there is no chance that it will hit the 60 votes needed to pass. Several Senate Democrats, including Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Dianne Feinstein, have expressed opposition to dumping the filibuster to pass the bill without GOP support.
Newsweek reached out to Manchin’s office for further comment. This story will be updated with any answer.