By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a swing vote in the United States Senate, announced Sunday that he intends to oppose a broad voting rights bill backed by a majority of his fellow Democrats that he would expand voting access across the country. .
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin said that the bill, known as the Law For the People, “is the wrong piece of legislation to unite our country and unite our country, and I am not supporting that because I believe that It will. divide us further. “
Manchin is key to control of the United States Senate, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. He has at times proven to be a thorn in the side of the Biden administration by crossing party lines to oppose legislation or block those appointed by the White House.
He has also continually opposed efforts to remove obstructionism, which would make it easier for Democrats to pass laws.
Manchin’s intention to oppose the voting rights bill if it goes to the Senate will complicate matters for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has vowed to promote the legislation despite not having Republican support.
The bill would require states to expand voting by mail, which was widely used in last year’s presidential elections due to the coronavirus pandemic, and would also lengthen in-person voting hours.
Since then, Republican-controlled state legislatures in places like Texas and Georgia have sought to greatly reduce voting by mail, as former President Donald Trump has continued to make false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Manchin further described his opposition to the voting rights bill in an opinion piece published Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, saying he is concerned about the complete lack of Republican support for the measure.
“Voting and electoral reform carried out in a partisan manner will guarantee that partisan divisions continue to deepen,” he wrote.
He also attacked Democrats for trying to remove obstructionism, saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
“What I have seen during my time in Washington is that all the parties in power will always want to exercise absolute power, absolutely. Our founders were cautious in seeing the temptation of absolute power and built specific checks and balances to force a compromise that works. to preserve our fragile democracy, “he wrote.
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