Joe Manchin Will Vote No On Voting Rights Bill

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (image via Facebook)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) penned an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail to inform his constituents he will be voting against the For the People Act which would strengthen voting rights across the country.

He adds that he will not support jettisoning the Senate filibuster which calls for 60 votes to close debate on certain bills and move on to a final vote.

Some in my party have argued that now is the time to discard such bipartisan voting reforms and embrace election reforms and policies solely supported by one party. Respectfully, I do not agree.

I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.

For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.

American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party, or the tweet-filled partisan attack politics of the moment. It is my sincere hope that all of us, especially those who are privileged to serve, remember our responsibility to do more to unite this country before it is too late.

I understand Manchin believing he’s taking a ‘principled’ approach here. But many say Manchin’s stand for “bipartisan compromise” will basically kill most of the policies Joe Biden promised the American people during his campaign – which got him elected.

Twitter Shades Graham Over Threat To Block Equality Act

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced he would talk until he “fell over to make sure the Equality Act doesn’t become law.”

The remark, which occurred during an interview on Fox News with talking head Sean Hannity, was in response to President Biden’s suggestion that Senate Democrats consider bringing back the “talking filibuster” rule which existed when Biden joined the Senate in the 1970s.

Currently, the rules require 60 votes to close debate on legislation to move to the actual vote on a bill. Essentially, that means it takes a three-fifths majority to get to a vote. And with a 50-50 split in the Senate, Democrats will need 10 Republicans to vote with them to get to a vote on the bill.

With a “talking filibuster,” anyone who wanted to block closing debate would have to continuously speak from the floor of  the Senate without pause. No bathroom breaks, no snacks, no nothing.

Senate Democrats have been considering some change to the filibuster to not only help pass the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes of existing federal civil rights laws, but also HR1 – legislation that would expand voting access.

But Graham, of all people, attacking a federal LGBTQ rights bill didn’t sit well with many in the Twitterverse. Primarily because Graham has long faced rumors about being a gay closet case while voting against LGBTQ issues.

Now, we’re not saying Graham is gay. We’re just reporting that the insinuation has followed the never-married bachelor for years. AND – he votes against LGBTQ interests.

Just last summer, gay adult entertainment performer Sean Harding tweeted about “a homophobic republican senator” who “keeps passing legislation that is damaging to the lgbt and minority communities.”

Harding added, “Every sex worker I know has been hired by this man. Wondering if enough of us spoke out if that could get him out of office?”

At the time, #LadyG and #LadyGraham began trending as some alleged that was the nickname for Graham used by sex workers.

So it’s no wonder that this week, following Graham’s comments about the Equality Act, the Twitterverse clapped back at the senator.

Fifteen Hour Senate Filibuster Succeeds In Winning Two Votes On Gun Measures

After nearly 15 hours of filibustering launched by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who was supported by fellow Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Republicans finally agreed to allow votes on two gun measures.

From Politico:

Though senators had yet to formally strike a deal, the Senate was likely to vote on two Democratic-backed gun measures: a proposal from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) meant to bar those on federal terror watch lists from obtaining firearms, and a plan from Murphy and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) mandating background checks for sales at gun shows and over the internet. Republicans are expected to put forward two of their own proposals for votes.

As Sen. Murphy and others pointed out over and over, these measures are supported by the VAST majority of Americans. One recent poll showed 90% of Democrats favor universal background checks, as well as 80% of Republicans.

Of course, the Senators themselves probably do, too. Their opposition most isn’t to the measures themselves. The problem is an actual vote where they have to go on record, and in doing so possibly anger the all-powerful NRA.

As the filibuster came to a close, Senator Chris Murphy recalled the story of Sandy Hook student Dylan Hockley and his teacher Anne Marie Murphy, who died trying to protect him from gunfire.

“It doesn’t take courage to stand here on the floor of the U.S. Senate… It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and instead of running wrapping your arms around a 6-year-old boy and accepting death,” Murphy said. “If Ann-Marie Murphy could do that then ask yourself — what can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again.”


Breaking: US Senate votes to break filibuster of Hagel nomination

From ThinkProgress: The Senate on Tuesday voted to break the Republican-led filibuster of
Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become the next Secretary of Defense,
clearing the way for his confirmation.

Senate Republicans made history earlier this month by successfully filibustering a president’s Defense Secretary nominee for the first time in U.S. history.

But a number of Republicans who voted to uphold the filibuster
joined Democrats in breaking the filibuster on Tuesday.

Overall, 18
Republicans voted for cloture, which ultimately passed by a vote of
71-27
.

According to Senate rules, a final up-or-down vote on Hagel’s
nomination will take place no later than 30 hours from today’s cloture
vote. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
said today that he hopes the vote will take place later on this
afternoon.

Read more at ThinkProgress