Manchin Says No Filibuster Exception for Voting Rights Bill

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Senator Joe Manchin said he wouldn’t carve out an exemption to the chamber’s filibuster rule for voting rights legislation, effectively dashing chances that Democrats could maneuver around Republican opposition to overhauling the nation’s elections laws.

The West Virginia Democrat made the remarks after meeting with a group of Texas House Democrats who left the state to stall a vote on Republican-backed legislation that they say would restrict voting.

“Forget the filibuster,” Manchin told reporters after the meeting.

The filibuster rule requires 60 votes to proceed with most legislation, and Senate Republicans used it last month to block consideration of a sweeping Democratic election bill. Some Democrats in the House and Senate have advocated eliminating the filibuster to advance the party’s priorities, but Manchin and Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema have ruled that out.

The debate over the filibuster has intensified as Democrats try to counter moves by some Republican-led states to tighten voting rules. Voting rights legislation the House passed in March would make it significantly easier to vote, limit gerrymandering of congressional districts, require third-party political groups to reveal secret donors and overhaul the Federal Election Commission, among other changes.

Manchin has voiced support for another bill that would restore portions of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court, which required changes to election laws in some states and localities to get federal review. But that has gotten only scant support from Republicans.

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