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As, effectively, the deciding member of the U.S. Senate, Joe Manchin has been at the center of negotiations on the most contentious bills since Joe Biden became president. His insistence on securing bipartisan support on the American Rescue Plan Act, the Build Back Better Act and the For The People Act is a commendable goal. Boosting our economy, improving our infrastructure and securing our democracy are things that should be and are widely popular goals, regardless of party affiliation. In the case of the For The People Act, Manchin sponsored a new bill, the Freedom To Vote Act, that kept the most important parts of the bill reigning in dark money campaign spending and securing our elections while addressing the concerns of our county clerks and secretaries of state.

Yet his bill has currently stalled. The American Rescue Plan Act needed to be passed through budget reconciliation, and a similar process has split Build Back Better into two bills. This is because, despite a majority of legislators and everyday West Virginians and Americans being in support of these pieces of legislation, the Republicans have weaponized the filibuster rule to block Democratic bills instead of working with them to make the bills better.

Senator Manchin has bent over backwards to do just this, and even on his own bill, his efforts have been discarded like a stack of junk mail by the people he’s negotiated with. This gridlock threatens to cripple our economy and jeopardize the fairness of our elections unless action is taken. Senator Manchin must take steps to restore the Senate back to a functional legislative body that passes meaningful legislation that improves our lives.

West Virginians have your back, Senator. Let’s get the Freedom To Vote Act passed!

Lenny Sundahl


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