Senate Republicans blocked a widespread Democratic bill on voting and government ethics on Tuesday as federal efforts to respond to a range of restrictive electoral bills passed by GOP-held state parliaments clashed .
The For the People Act aims, among other things, to set up automatic voter registration, to expand early voting, 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 state electoral measures.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in March. The move failed a Senate procedural test on Tuesday as Republicans voted against opening a debate on it.
The plan took 60 votes to move forward in the Senate, 50-50 divided by party. Previously, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., criticized his GOP colleagues for their reluctance to begin the process of debating and changing the bill.
“Should the United States Senate even discuss how to protect our citizens’ voting rights? There is only one right answer,” he said, claiming Republicans were “afraid” that a discussion of the law would shed light on that Efforts by the states will throw “to deny the right to vote.”
When asked how he would develop his voting rights in the event of a failure of the draft law, Schumer said on Tuesday that he would “not put the cart in front of the horse”.
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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 HR1 – For the People Act on June 17, 2021 on Capitol Hill in 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 such as the Voting Rights Act, which protected voters from discrimination.
The Biden government has put its weight behind the For the People Act as an element 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 had met with proxies for the past few weeks, led the Senate vote on Tuesday. She plans to promote registration and work with leaders 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 urged 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 final passage of the Democratic-led bill, potentially the chances of killing his passage even without the filibuster. He said he wanted to approve a voting plan with GOP support, 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 Republicans have usually supported.
McConnell shot down the plan, arguing that it contained the “rotten core” of the Democratic bill.
Some people didn’t commit to voting until Tuesday afternoon to start 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 ensured that any Democrat would vote for the bill while the Republicans blocked it.
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