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Black faith leaders want Manchin’s ear after voting rights meeting with civil rights groups

Exclusive: Following Sen. Joe Manchin’s virtual meeting with legacy civil rights groups, Black clergymen in West Virginia say they now want the hometown senator’s ear.

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Senator Joe Manchin’s meetings on voter rights are just beginning. theGrio has learned the next round of the listening tour aimed at getting the senator’s support for voting rights is in the works. Black faith leaders in West Virginia want the hometown senator’s ear next. 

“There’s a large delegation of people who support him but who are very concerned that he won’t stand up and represent that community in regards to voter rights,” Reverend W. Franklyn Richardson of the Conference of Black Churches told theGrio

On the Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not expect passage on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act until the fall. As the nation awaits the next leg of voter rights protections, the For the People Act hangs in the balance, and one could consider lawmakers seeking a deal are being held hostage by Sen. Manchin, whom President Joe Biden considers a friend, in the process.

White House officials confirmed on Tuesday they are taking their lead from Congress on voting rights. This comes at yet another moment in United States history when states are actively working to dismantle and chip away at access to the ballot box.   

Although White House spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted that the administration has not made the progress it sought on voting rights, she “would not say we are waiting” when it comes to movement on the issue.  

The reality on the Hill, however, is that any action is moot as long as Manchin, a moderate Democrat, essentially holds up any chance of progress on voting rights through his opposition to the For the People Act.

With a stall on voting rights, Psaki said from the White House podium during a press briefing on Monday that Vice President Kamala Harris asked to make voting rights part of her portfolio to get the administration past the hurdle. Psaki contends that when Vice President Harris returns from her first foreign trip, she will hold meetings along with other actions to elevate the issue and secure the passage of H.R.1.

Earlier Tuesday, civil rights leaders met virtually with Senator Manchin and committed to continuing the dialogue. Psaki commented on the meeting Tuesday acknowledging “it was encouraging to see Senator Manchin meeting with civil rights groups.” 

“The meeting shows that both are serious and recognize the importance of the issue,” Psaki added.  

However, Manchin has yet to change his stance on voting rights. 

National Urban League Head Marc Morial told theGrio that the meeting was “constructive.” The leaders of the legacy civil rights groups did not attend the meeting to “confront” Manchin but to hold a “conversation” that was “candid and frank.”  Morial said it also “was meant to educate” him on “the threat to democracy” his opposition to For the People Act and support of the filibuster pose.

Melanie Campbell of the Black Women’s Roundtable never met with Senator Manchin before the Tuesday session. Campbell told theGrio she was “focused on the filibuster and why it has always adversely impacted Black people in racial justice in this country by stopping civil rights, voting rights and anti-lynching.” 

Campbell recognized throughout history with the fight against the filibuster, “we have had to rely on federal intervention when our rights were under attack.”

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This content was originally published here.

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