South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., blasted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Thursday, over his position on the Democrats’ sweeping election reform legislation.
The top ranking Democrat called out Manchin for being the stand-alone Democrat to not co-sponsor the For the People Act, which the left claims is an election integrity measure but in reality radically overhauls the electoral system, centralizing power at the federal level. Democrats’ best hope of passing the legislation is if they kill the filibuster.
Though Manchin has expressed support for parts of the bill, he said he favors bipartisanship and does not want to see the measure passed along strictly partisan lines.
"America's declining trust in the government and each other makes it harder to solve key problems," Manchin said in a statement. "That trust will continue to diminish unless we, as members of Congress, transcend partisanship to strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights, implementing commonsense election security reforms, and making our campaign finance system more transparent."
He continued: "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."
Clyburn said he was "insulted" by the senator's position.
"I’m insulted when he tells me that it’s more important to maintain a relationship with the minority in the U.S. Senate than it is for you to maintain a relationship with the minority of voters in America," Clyburn told The Huffington Post.
The South Carolina Democrat was also infuriated Manchin wasn't taking a stand to try to reverse election reform efforts Republican state legislatures have passed.
"Since when do their rights take precedence over your fellow Democrat [Sen. Raphael] Warnock, who saw his state just pass laws to keep him from getting reelected?" Clyburn wondered. "And you’re going to say it’s more important for you to protect 50 Republicans in the Senate than for you to protect your fellow Democrat’s seat in Georgia. That’s a bunch of crap."
While Clyburn wants the rules of the filibuster changed so Democrats can get the measure passed, he also believes civil and votings rights issues should be allowed to pass on a simple majority—"these constitutional issues should never be sacrificed on the altar of the filibuster."
Without the law's passage, he fears the electoral blows Democrats will receive come 2022.
He warned that if Democrats let this voting rights bill, along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act reauthorizing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, fall to Republican-led filibusters, the party would “pay the biggest price it has ever paid at the polls” in the 2022 midterm elections.
“That is an actual fact,” Clyburn said. “I think I know Black people. I’ve been Black 80 years.” (The Huffington Post)
Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have remained opposed to killing the filibuster.