Senate Republicans stand ready to block sweeping law on Democratic Voting and Government Ethics on Tuesday as federal efforts to respond to a number of restrictive electoral laws passed by GOP-held state parliaments bump into a wall.
The For the People Act aims, among other things, to set up automatic voter registration, to expand the early election, to ensure more transparency in political donations and to limit the partial drawing of congressional districts. Democrats pushed for reforms ahead of the 2020 elections but felt they were more necessary to protect the democratic process after former President Donald Trump's false claims of electoral fraud sparked an attack on the Capitol and restrictive government voting.
In March the House of Representatives passed its version of the bill. The move is likely to fail a procedural test in a Senate vote later Tuesday as Republicans signal they will vote against opening a debate on the bill.
The plan will take 60 votes to move forward in the Senate, 50-50 divided by party.
“Should the United States Senate even discuss how to protect our citizens' voting rights? There is only one right answer, ”said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., before voting on the bill will shed light on state efforts to“ deny the right to vote ”.
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Republicans have called the bill a Democratic takeover. You have argued that states, rather than the federal government, should have leeway to enact electoral laws.
The GOP has also questioned the need for a new bill to protect voting rights. Republicans have downplayed the restrictive laws in states like Georgia and Florida, which have taken measures including making postal votes more difficult and limiting ballot boxes. Critics of the measures say they would disproportionately harm black voters and give GOP officials more power over the election results.
Prior to the Senate vote, minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Called the Democratic bill a "transparent partisan plan" and stressed that it was in the works before Republican-led legislators passed voting bills.
"The Senate is only an obstacle when the policy is flawed and the process is lazy," he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) attends a press conference held by Republican Senators on the H.R.1 – For the People Act on June 17, 2021 on Capitol Hill, Washington.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Schumer denied the argument that the federal government should not exercise its will on electoral laws. He referred to previous bills like the Voting Rights Act, which protected voters from discrimination.
The Biden administration has put its weight behind the For the People Act as part of its domestic political agenda. The Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday that the 2020 elections and their "violent aftermath" when a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol and disrupted the count of the president's election victory "remind us that our democracy is fragile" .
"This breakthrough legislation is necessary to protect the right to vote, maintain the integrity of our elections, and repair and strengthen American democracy," the administration said.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who has met with proxies over the past few weeks, plans to promote registration and work with leaders who are pushing back restrictive bills in the coming weeks, NBC News reported.
The For the People Act has little chance of being revived in the current Senate. At least two Democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – oppose the abolition of the filibuster bill that would allow the party to pass more bills without Republicans.
Liberals have called on the party to abolish the 60-vote barrier as the Democrats pursue their priorities with control of the White House and tight majorities in the House and Senate.
But Manchin has signaled that he would oppose the Democrat-led law, potentially the chances of killing his passage even without the filibuster. He said he wanted to pass a voting plan with the support of the GOP, although Republicans oppose more modest plans to protect ballots.
Manchin proposed a possible compromise that would include Democrat-backed provisions such as 15-day early voting for federal elections and automatic voter registration with state motor vehicle authorities. It also calls for requirements to identify voters who the Republicans have usually supported.
McConnell shot down the plan, arguing that it contained the "rotten core" of the Democratic bill.
Some people did not commit to voting until Tuesday afternoon to begin a debate on their party's law. Schumer announced an agreement to incorporate Manchin's proposal as an amendment when the For the People Act clears procedural voting.
The Senator's support ensures that every Democrat will vote for the bill, even if all Republicans vote to block it.
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