POLITICS

Jim Clyburn On Joe Manchin: 'How Would He Have Me Compromise' On Voting Rights?

The third-highest ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill said he's "insulted" by Sen. Joe Manchin's calls for bipartisanship on voting rights laws.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third-highest ranking member of Democratic Party leadership in the House, isn’t done taking aim at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) over his position on federal legislation to protect voting rights.

Clyburn on Friday questioned Manchin’s stated reason for doubling down on bipartisan congressional cooperation, which the pivotal moderate Democrat detailed in an interview with CNN.

“Jan. 6 changed me,” Manchin said in the interview, referring to the bloody Capitol riot fueled by Republican lies about the 2020 presidential election. “I never thought in my life, I never read in history books to where our form of government had been attacked, at our seat of government, which is Washington, D.C., at our Capitol, by our own people.” 

He continued: “So, something told me, ‘Wait a minute. Pause. Hit the pause button.’ Something’s wrong. You can’t have this many people split to where they want to go to war with each other.”

But pointing to an attempted insurrection instigated by Donald Trump and other Republicans as a reason to cooperate with the GOP, including on the issue of voting rights, didn’t sit well with the most senior Black lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

“He said ... that Jan. 6th changed him,” Clyburn said Friday on CNN. “Well, it changed me as well. I want to remind him of what some of those insurrectionists were saying to those African American law officers who were out there. One man talking about how many times he was called the N-word. I want to know, how does that man compromise in such a situation? How would he have me compromise in such a situation?”

Clyburn told HuffPost earlier this month he feels “insulted” by Manchin’s position on the For The People Act, Democrats’ proposal that expands voting rights. Manchin has expressed support for some elements of the bill, but said Congress should craft a bipartisan compromise that will not “do anything that will create more distrust” in elections. 

Crafting a bipartisan voting bill that can advance in an evenly divided U.S. Senate will require the support of at least 10 GOP senators ― a very high bar. Most Republicans claim states aren’t trying to restrict voting access, defending restrictive laws advanced in Georgia, Arizona, and Texas as good-faith efforts meant to safeguard “election integrity.”

But Manchin asserts that Congress can still function in a bipartisan way, or that it ought to try. He defends Senate filibuster rules and says there is “no circumstance” under which he would vote to eliminate the legislative tactic.

“The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed published by The Washington Post this week.