Poor People's Campaign

Campaign places ads in WV newspapers calling on Manchin to stop blocking policies that lift poor and low-wealth people

Reporters can register here for news conference Monday 

Contact: Martha Waggoner [email protected] 

As Joe Manchin signs onto a new bill that gives in to voter ID lies and lacks provisions to fully protect voters, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will hold a news conference Monday to maintain pressure on the West Virginia senator.

The campaign is pressuring Sen. Manchin to end his support of the coward’s filibuster, stop representing corporate interests that hurt West Virginians, and endorse full infrastructure investment and a federal minimum wage of at least $15/hour. 

The online news conference will start at 2 p.m. ET Monday. Participants include the national campaign co-chairs, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis and organizers with the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign. 

Campaign leaders say they are ready to escalate to nonviolent moral direct action if Manchin continues to delay and enable interposition and nullification of moral policy.

Reporters can register for the news conference here, and it will be live streamed here

“Manchin knows that his Republican friends aren’t going to support federal protection of voting rights,” Rev. Barber said. “His cooperation on a bill that would expand the right to vote and protect against voter suppression in the states is important, but it’s a cynical performance of concern about the crisis we face if Manchin isn’t willing to vote with his fellow Democrats to override the Republicans’ interposition of any debate on voting rights through the coward’s filibuster. And his attempts to add the ‘election integrity’ language of the Big Lie into this bill is shameful.” 

On Tuesday, Sen. Manchin joined a group of Democrat senators in introducing the Freedom to Vote Act on voting rights, campaign finance and government ethics. It retains some, but not all, of the For the People Act written by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and adds national standards for voter ID, citing the fraudulent “election integrity” concerns that Republicans invented to justify this voter suppression tactic.

To pass the Senate under its current rules, the Freedom to Vote Act would need the support of 10 GOP senators to override the filibuster.

“Joe Manchin claimed to support the ‘For the People’ Act when John Lewis was alive but there was no chance of it passing. Now, his narcissism has demanded the photo op that he ‘supports’ the ‘Freedom to Vote’ Act, which cannot pass the Senate without filibuster reform, which Manchin himself is blocking,” said Rev. Theoharis. “This is a cynical exercise of image polishing as Manchin stands in the way of For the People Act, fully restoring the 1965 Voting Rights Act, ending the filibuster, and raising minimum wage to $15/hour — all of which are widely supported by the people of West Virginia and the nation. 

“This campaign has continued to ask Sen. Manchin, which side are you on — the side of the people, especially poor and low-income West Virginians, or the side of those standing in the way of democracy and justice? We are unmoved by symbolic victories and will keep organizing, defending our democracy and fighting for economic justice.”

Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the two Democratic senators who have said they will not support ending the coward’s filibuster, which requires only that senators say they will filibuster a bill rather than stand and talk for hours. 

The news conference will follow the publication of full-page and digital ads in four West Virginia newspapers by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. 

The ads — which will be published Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Herald-Dispatch (Huntington), The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and the Journal (Martinsburg) —  hold the senator accountable for only partially responding to the moral call of the movement while playing games such as advancing voter ID lies while blocking living wages and a modest spending plan. We demand to know: “Which side are you on, Sen. Manchin?”

For months, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has pushed Manchin to end the filibuster and support the For the People Act, fully restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act and increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. 

The West Virginia PPC and the national campaign have protested at Sen. Manchin’s office, the WV state capitol in Charleston, and on Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. Sen. Manchin also met online with the national and state campaign representatives. 

Meanwhile, the White House on Monday declined to deny a report in Rolling Stone that President Biden has said he will call and lobby centrist members of Congress on filibuster reform.