Rep. Mondaire Jones Blasts Sen. Joe Manchin For Prioritizing ‘Bipartisanship’ Over Voting Rights
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-New York) is calling Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) “intellectually un-serious.”
Jones’ criticism was in response to Manchin’s recent opinion piece in the Charleston Gazette-Mail in which he explained his decision to vote against his own party’s For The People Act. Jones objected to Manchin’s insistence that the bill shouldn’t be passed for no other reason than that it has no Republican support.
The For The People Act (H.R. 1) is a more than 800-page bill whose goals are vast: to expand voting rights, rework campaign finance laws to break down the small-money and “dark money” issue, establish new ethics for federal officials and attempt to break the system of partisan gerrymandering. The bill has passed in the House and Senate Rules Committee. Every Senate Democrat has co-sponsored it except for Manchin.
Jones says that Manchin’s decision could be a death blow reforming federal voting laws.
“We must act now to protect our democracy,” Jones told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Sunday. “We are going into a redistricting year, and there is going to be partisan gerrymandering, unlike anything we have ever seen by the Republican Party. Now, we have an opportunity to actually do something about it.”
Manchin says that he is not against the bill’s provisions but is against the process by which Democrats plan to pass it. Specifically, he does not like the idea of eliminating the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to pass legislation.
Eliminating the filibuster, which was designed particularly for the minority party to block legislation it opposes, something Democrats themselves used during the Trump Administration, could be perilous. To assume that Democrats will never again find themselves in the minority is shortsighted, in Manchin’s view.
In his opinion piece, Manchin mentions how defensive Senate Democrats were when, in 2017, then-President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans to scrap the filibuster.
“It has been said by much wiser people than me that absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Manchin wrote. “Our Founders were wise to see the temptation of absolute power and built-in specific checks and balances to force compromises that serve to preserve our fragile democracy.”
Jones took to Twitter to debate Manchin further. He said that the filibuster has “nothing to do” with the Founders; that they were, actually, against the idea of requiring supermajority support for passing laws; that today’s Republican Party is a “mortal threat” to democracy; that if there aren’t 10 Republicans who are willing to investigate an insurrection, then there won’t be enough Republicans to overcome a filibuster to pass a voting rights bill.
Sen. Manchin’s op-ed on the #ForThePeopleAct is full of unsound, unserious arguments.
Let’s unpack it.
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) June 6, 2021
In his opinion piece, Manchin offered what he thought was a potential compromise – passing the latest iteration of the Voting Rights Act, renamed John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R.4) . This bill, which would ensure that states and localities don’t enact laws that hurt specific races and ethnicities, has garnered bipartisan support, including at least one Senate Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Jones, though, argued that the bill would not only be incapable of overcoming a filibuster, but it would also do nothing about dark money donations and gerrymandering.