The Congressional Black Caucus is taking aim at centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for not getting on board with lifting the filibuster to pass Democrats’ voting reform bills on a partisan basis, The Hill reported.
“We’re sending a clarion call and you can print this: Shame on you for not doing it,” Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, the caucus chair, said in an open message to Manchin, who also kept the Senate from passing the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act solely with Democrats’ votes in December.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, sent a five-page letter to Manchin. He has not responded.
“I’ve given him enough time to respond — I will make it public now — and it only suggests if he should have the courage of West Virginia, that seceded from Virginia because they did not want to support slavery,” Lee told The Hill.
Manchin is not the only senator who declined to keep Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., from blocking Democrats’ effort to move their election reform bills with a simple majority, but he has made a proposal of his own voting reforms that awaits consideration in the Senate.
“We’re calling on a few senators in particular to rise to this moment,” Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, told The Hill. “Pass your own bill, Sen. Manchin.”
While Democrats would prefer their stronger election reform bills, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said that “every member” of the caucus supports Manchin’s scaled-back proposal.
“And we’re finding some real issues trying to figure out why is it that when we decided to support his bill, he seems to be supporting a filibuster of his own bill,” Clyburn told The Hill.
“That, to us, is very disconcerting.”
Manchin is steadfast in protecting the filibuster and forcing the Senate to find 60 votes to pass any legislation, including his own.
“Voting is very important; it is a bedrock of democracy, but to break the opportunity for the minority to participate completely, that’s just not who we are,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday in the Capitol.
Schumer’s Jan. 17 deadline for Republicans to get on board with Democrats’ voting bills, or face a possible takedown of the filibuster, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.