Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Manchin was asked if his view on the election reform bill, the For the People Act, had changed. He said, “No, I don’t think anybody changed positions on that. We’re just learning where everyone’s coming from.”
“I just think we had a constructive conversation,” he said, adding, “I’m very much concerned about our democracy, protecting people’s voting rights, and making sure that that’s done. And making sure we understand how fragile we are as a country.”
Additionally, he said it was an “excellent” meeting and that they “helped me.”
Watch the video below:
Sen. Joe Manchin on meeting with NAACP on voting rights: "We had a constructive conversation… I'm very much concerned about our democracy, protecting people's voting rights, and making sure that that's done." https://t.co/thZPITVlJW pic.twitter.com/SpVhASgfpA
— The Hill (@thehill) June 8, 2021
The participants of the meeting included National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President Derrick Johnson, National Urban League President Marc Morial, and Reverend Al Sharpton.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Council of Negro Women and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
The meeting comes two days after Manchin penned an op-ed to declare that he opposes the For the People Act, as IJR reported.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy, and protecting that right should not be about party or politics. Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner,” he said.
He went on, “Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage.”
Additionally, Manchin said he believes an election reform bill should be the product of negotiations with Democrats and Republicans and noted that the For the People Act has no Republican support in the Senate.
He asked, “Why? Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?”
Finally, he stated that he will vote against the bill and reiterated his opposition to eliminating or weakening the filibuster, which would let Democrats pass legislation with just 51 votes.
Manchin’s opposition to the For the People Act and eliminating the filibuster will likely make it harder for Democrats to pass the legislation due to the 60 vote hurdle in the Senate.
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