Manchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rights

Sen. Joe ManchinManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rightsJoe ManchinProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC US, EU pledge to work together on climate amid reported dissension on coal Senate to hold hearing on DC statehood bill MORE (D-W.Va.) met with a group of Texas lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss voting rights, one day after he missed a Democratic caucus lunch where the group briefed senators.  

Manchin met with Texas state Sen. Royce West (D); Texas state Rep. Chris Turner (D); Texas state Sen. Jose Menendez (D); Texas state Rep. Nicole Collier (D), the chairwoman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus; and Texas state Rep. Jessica Gonzalez, the vice chairwoman of the Texas House Elections Committee, a spokesperson for the Democratic senator told The Hill. 

Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Al GreenManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rightsAlexander (Al) N. GreenLawmakers roll out legislation to defend pipelines against cyber threats Bipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures House Democrat sits on Capitol steps to protest extremist threat MORE (Texas) and Sylvia GarciaManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rightsSylvia GarciaBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip K Street navigates virtual inauguration week MORE (Texas) also attended and helped facilitate the meeting. 

"Thanks to Rep.’s Cuellar, Green & Garcia who helped facilitate a very positive meeting," Menendez tweeted after the meeting, adding that Manchin "agreed that the right to vote is fundamental."

Turner added that it was a "great meeting" and that they had a "in-depth, positive discussion about how we best protect the rights of all voters."

Thanks to Rep.’s Cuellar, Green & Garcia who helped facilitate a very positive meeting w/ Sen. @JoeManchinWV who agreed that the right to vote is fundamental. Working together we’ll find a pathway forward to protect #votingrights of all Americans & protect our democracy! #txlege

— José Menéndez (@Menendez4Texas) June 16, 2021

The group of Texas lawmakers is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with senators and Vice President Harris after Texas Democrats staged a walkout late last month to prevent the advancement of a bill that would place new restrictions on voting. 

The meeting with Manchin comes after a group met with his staff on Tuesday. 

They also spoke at a closed-door Senate Democratic Conference lunch on Tuesday. Manchin missed the meeting, sparking fierce criticism from progressives. It was the latest meeting where voting rights were discussed that Manchin has missed, citing scheduling conflicts.  

Sen. Tim KaineManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rightsTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThis week: Democrats face fractures in spending fight Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US MORE (D-Va.), who has been talking with Manchin ahead of next week's vote on a sweeping election reform bill, told The Hill on Wednesday that he also missed Tuesday's lunch "so that we could work on the one-on-one discussions" with Manchin.

"We were trying to work through, in a good faith way, questions that Joe had raised," Kaine said. 

A spokesman for Manchin confirmed that he missed the lunch because he had been meeting with Kaine.  

Manchin's closed-door sit-down with the Texas lawmakers is the latest meeting he's had in recent weeks as he faces intense pressure to figure out a way to support the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that he has said he can't back as it's currently drafted.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rightsChuck SchumerOvernight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) took steps on Wednesday night to bring the bill up for a vote next week on the Senate floor, where it will fall short of the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster. 

But Democrats are weeks deep into a frantic behind-the-scenes effort to try to cut a deal on the bill that Manchin could support. That would at least let them unify their caucus on the floor next week.  

Manchin hasn't yet said how he'll vote next week. But he's circulated a list to his colleagues of what he does and doesn't support in the For the People Act, opening the door to a potential pathway toward an agreement.

“We’ll have to see what changes are made,” Manchin told reporters on Wednesday when asked how he’ll vote.