Representatives from a group of Texas Democratic lawmakers who blocked a Republican-backed voting restrictions bill from becoming state law at the eleventh hour met for over an hour with Sen. Joe Manchin’s staff on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
Texas state Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer and Jasmine Crockett met with the West Virginia Democrat’s chief of staff Lance West, Legislative Director Wes Kungel, and Chief Counsel Kevin Carson on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of the caucus, the source, who requested anonymity to detail the private meeting, told NBC News. Two other Texas lawmakers who had also planned to join were unable to attend, though the reason wasn’t immediately clear.
The Texas lawmakers are in Washington to lobby for federal voting legislation and are scheduled to meet with several Democratic lawmakers in the Senate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, who is leading the Biden administration’s push to protect voting rights.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaking with reporters while the Texas lawmakers’ meeting was taking place, slammed the bill, known as the “For the People Act,” as an attempt to boost Democrats’ electoral chances.
“Think of this as exactly what it is, a partisan effort by the majority to take over at the federal level how we conduct all of America’s elections,” he said. “Not surprisingly, there won’t be a single Republican who supports it.”
Manchin has said he will not support the legislation that is currently being considered by Congress and has called for bipartisan agreement on any measure to change voting that becomes law.
Manchin has emerged as a key figure when it comes to voting legislation. Democrats have been unable to secure any Republican support for their measure, which would gut GOP-advanced restrictions in states like Texas and Georgia.
To pass the bill in its current form, Democrats would need Manchin to agree to amend Senate filibuster rules. He remains opposed to eliminating the filibuster.
Manchin has said he supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a more narrow voting bill.
The lawmakers plan to argue that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is important but “not a substitute” for the For the People Act, according to prepared talking points for the lawmakers.