'Squad' Dem Cori Bush to Joe Manchin: Fall in line or 'get out of our way'

Sen. Manchin the talk of Washington as WV Dem rejects voting bill

Fox News Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram joins ‘Special Report’ with the details

The progressive Squad is lashing out at Sen. Joe Manchin after the West Virginia Democrat announced his opposition to congressional Democrats’ highest priority piece of legislation, known as the For the People Act.

Manchin said Sunday he won’t support the sweeping election overhaul reform because it’s too partisan and would further divide the country – earning the wrath of the most liberal members of Congress. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., called Manchin the “new Mitch McConnell.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., accused the moderate senator of backing GOP “voter suppression.” And a third New York Democrat, Rep. Mondaire Jones, said Manchin is trying to “preserve Jim Crow.”

Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist before entering Congress this year, said Manchin should just fall in line with the rest of his party “or get out of our way.”

The Squad has long been frustrated with Manchin for his stance against eliminating the filibuster, which would allow Democrats to pass legislation in the Senate with a simple majority. Progressives want to push through an ambitious agenda – including D.C. statehood, voting rights, gun control and police reform – while Democrats have control of the House, Senate and White House. 

FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, then-activist Cori Bush speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in St. Louis. Bush was elected to Congress in November and is a member of the progressive Squad. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Manchin’s additional opposition to the For the People Act – numbered S.1 to signify it is the No. 1 priority for Democrats – means the legislation is doomed since it required total Democratic support in the Senate for any glimmer of hope to advance. Democrats viewed the federal legislation as an urgent remedy to the stricter state-level voting rules Republicans have enacted since former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. 

The sweeping election overhaul legislation would set up a new public financing system for congressional and presidential elections to incentivize small-dollar donations, enact automatic voter registration, restore voting rights to felons after they have completed their sentences, mandate same-day voter registration and require states to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before an election. 

The legislation weakens state-mandated voter ID requirements by allowing those without photo identification to still vote by signing sworn affidavits.

Manchin represents the red state of West Virginia and maintains a more conservative record for his political survival and has long preached bipartisanship and preserving traditions in the Senate. If Manchin is voted out of office when he’s up for re-election in 2024, Democrats would lose a key Senate seat to Republicans. 

Manchin Tuesday acknowledged the trouble he’s causing progressives and reacted to Bowman dubbing him the “new Mitch McConnell” for obstructing the Democratic agenda. 

“I understand the frustrations,” Manchin said. “Ya know, this is a tough business we’re in.”

Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report. 

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