On Wednesday, a group of civil rights
activists will march to Washington, D.C.
, to protest Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin
of West Virginia
and Republican Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
“In a democracy
, poor and low-income people must have two things: the right to vote and living wages,” said Bishop William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “Joe Manchin and Mitch McConnell are threatening our democracy by opposing these two things.
According to the group, more than seven buses of poor and low-income workers will be brought to the nation's capital for the march.
The protest comes as the Senate debates the For the People Act
' comprehensive democracy reform bill that would, among other things, expand voting rights
, limit partisan gerrymandering, and reduce the influence of money
Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with McConnell's insistence that the party only do things that have Republican support. McConnell, for his part, has insisted that the GOP
's "focus is on stopping this new administration."
Except for Manchin, every Democratic senator supports the legislation, while every Republican senator opposes it. On June 6, Manchin wrote an opinion piece in the Charleston Gazette-Mail opposing the For the People Act, citing the fact that no Republican senator supported it, raising the inevitable question of whether he would allow Republicans
to block every single part of Biden
He has since introduced “compromise” legislation, though it is unclear whether it will receive enough Republican votes
The For the People Act is considered Democrats' top legislative priority; it passed the House
with only one Democratic lawmaker voting against it. Democrats hold the Senate by the thinnest of margins; even if Manchin supported the bill, it would still require 10 Republicans to join in because Manchin and some other Democrats refuse to support repealing the filibuster
The Poor People's Campaign will hold its second protest against Manchin on Wednesday, following a march to his office in Charleston, West Virginia, last week.
Although only 3.6% of West Virginia residents are Black
, Black leaders in the state have warned their senator that his willingness to hand over Democrats' voting rights agenda to Republicans may cost him their support in the next election
West Virginia NAACP President
Owens Brown told Stardia earlier this month that “African-Americans in West Virginia could be his Achilles’ heel.”
Manchin recently held a conference call with Black church leaders in the state, and at one point, a pastor close to the senator came to his defense; however, the attempt to defend him did not go well, indicating the growing frustration among allies with Manchin.
“In the past, that might have had some clout,” the Rev. David Fryson, senior pastor of New First Baptist Church of Kanawha City in Charleston, told The Washington Post
, “but this time it was just embarrassing.”