West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says the House's sweeping voting reform bill known as the "For the People Act" will go "nowhere" in the Senate without bipartisan support.
The bill, also know as H.R. 1, was recently passed in the Democratic-controlled House and sent to the Senate with such provisions as increased access to absentee balloting and changes on campaign donations and the mapping of congressional districts.
The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats having the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaker. The dynamic has made Manchin, a moderate Democrat in a largely conservative state, a pivotal vote on most all measure. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have used legislative maneuvers to pass measures by a simple, 51-vote majority and are considering similar maneuvers on upcoming measures.
"We must work toward a bipartisan solution that protects everyone’s right to vote, secures our elections from foreign interference, and increases transparency in our campaign finance laws," Manchin recently said, according to home state newspaper The Weirton Daily Times. "Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the U.S. government."
West Virginia's other senator, Republican Shelly Moore Capito, is also expressing opposition to the House bill, saying the federal government's attempt to "federalize elections" is a "step too far."
However, she doubts Democrats will even seek bipartisan support.
"I hate to say it, but (Manchin) is on a pipe dream here on this on this one," Capito said.