The conservative Democratic senator who will hold a swing vote in the US Senate on Sunday has vowed to block a bill revising US electoral law, marking a major setback to Joe Biden’s efforts to reform voting rights.
On Fox News Sunday, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said the bill, which expands postal voting and extends the hours people can vote, “was the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unify our country.”
In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin reiterated that he would not help Democrats repeal the U.S. Senate’s secretive voting process known as the filibuster, which requires a supermajority of 60 senators to pass most laws. sign.
Biden has pushed for the For the People Act as Republicans have restricted access to votes in many US states they control, including Georgia, Florida and Texas.
As the most conservative Democrat in a senate by a wafer-thin margin, Manchin has emerged as a crucial dealmaker. His frequent opposition to the president’s plans illustrates the difficulty Biden faces in passing key pieces of legislation through a divided Congress.
Biden continues to negotiate with Republicans over his ambitious infrastructure bill, the proposed value of which has been reduced to about $1 trillion in talks with Republican lawmakers. In March, Biden proposed $2.3 trillion in spending that would pump an unprecedented amount of federal money into the country’s roads, bridges, transportation hubs, water facilities and broadband networks.
Republicans insist that while more spending is needed to repair crumbling infrastructure, any plan must be scaled back, especially after the trillions of federal dollars allocated for Covid relief earlier this year.
They have also been frustrated with the president’s proposals to raise the corporate tax rate or raise taxes on America’s top earners to pay for the extra expenses.
Manchin has made it clear to the president that he expects the infrastructure package, called the American Jobs Plan, to succeed with votes from both Democrats and Republicans.
The second senator to represent West Virginia, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, has become the chief negotiator for Republicans in the infrastructure talks.
On Friday, people familiar with the Biden-Capito talks said the president was willing to drop his demands for an increase in the US corporate tax rate if enough Republicans agreed to support an increase in infrastructure spending. Biden and Capito are expected to meet again Monday as a self-imposed deadline for reaching a bipartisan agreement looms.
On Sunday, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said there were still “good faith efforts” from both Democratic and Republican negotiators, and the president remained optimistic about getting a bipartisan deal.
“The practice of law is much more art than science, and there is no one better at it than President Biden,” Raimondo said on ABC’s This Week.