Centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a frequent target of progressives in his party, recently offered Republicans in the U.S. Senate a compromise when he proposed a less comprehensive —some Democrats would say watered down — version of the For the People Act. But on June 22, House Republicans, using the filibuster, wouldn't even debate Manchin's proposal. In light of this development, the Los Angeles Times' editorial board argues in a June 22 editorial, the only way to protect voting rights in the United States is to abolish the filibuster.
"As expected, debate on a bill to protect voting rights was blocked in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday when the Democratic sponsors failed to garner 60 votes," the Times' editorial board notes. "But in reaching out to centrist Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Senate Democrats indicated that they were open to compromise. The shameful reaction of Senate Republicans, on the other hand, demonstrated that they are willing to ignore laws approved by GOP-controlled legislatures that make voting harder."
One prominent liberal/progressive Democrat who was willing to accept Manchin's compromise was Georgia-based organizer Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial race. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, didn't even want to hear what Manchin had to say on June 22.
"Manchin said this month that he couldn't support the For the People Act," the Times' editorial board explains. "But last week, he proposed a number of changes that should have attracted bipartisan support. Some of Manchin's ideas, such as a requirement for early voting, overlapped the provisions of the For the People Act. Others, such as his proposal for absentee ballots, were more restrictive. He also proposed making election day a holiday and, in a gesture to Republicans, requiring that voters supply identification, but not necessarily photo ID."
The Times' wraps up its editorial by saying that in light of the fact that "Republicans weren't willing even to debate the bill or offer amendments," the filibuster has become a threat to voting rights in the United States.
"Manchin and another Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have resisted the idea of abolishing the filibuster," the Times editorial board writes. "But if GOP senators continue to stonewall reasonable legislation to protect the right to vote, those two reluctant Democrats must be pressed to recognize that — at least where protecting democracy is concerned — the filibuster must go."