Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Thursday to shoot down an altered version of the massive For the People Act election reform measure that is set to hit the Senate floor next week.
Democrats are attempting to cobble together a version of the bill, also known as S.1, that would win the support of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Manchin announced earlier this month that he would vote against the House version of the For the People Act — which passed along party lines in March — describing it as “partisan policymaking” that would “destroy” American democracy.
In a statement Thursday, McConnell said the new version of S.1 “still subverts the First Amendment to supercharge cancel culture and the left’s name-and-shame campaign model. It takes redistricting away from state legislatures and hands it over to computers. And it still retains S.1’s rotten core: an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections.”
Manchin has proposed approximately two dozen changes to the legislation, including making Election Day a public holiday, mandating at least 15 consecutive days for early voting in federal elections, and allowing for automatic voter registration through a state’s department of motor vehicles, according to The Hill.
Manchin has also proposed a national voter ID requirement that would mandate states check for some form of ID, but allow documents like utility bills to be accepted instead of a photo ID. That requirement is currently in place in 15 states, including Manchin’s home state of West Virginia.
The proposed changes were endorsed Thursday by former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who described them to CNN as “basic building blocks that we need to ensure that democracy is accessible.”
That sounded alarm bells for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who told reporters that “I actually think when Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Manchin’s proposal it became the Stacey Abrams [bill], not the Joe Manchin [bill].”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) described the For the People Act as “the single most dangerous piece of legislation pending in the United States Congress.
“It is a brazen power grab. It is an attempt by Democrats to federalize elections and to ensure that the Democrats cannot lose for the next hundred years,” he said.
The measure needs 60 votes to pass, which it is unlikely to get. However, Democrats hope that by getting Manchin on board, they can shift attention to Republican opposition rather than divisions in their conference.
“Republicans are digging in their heels,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “They’ve made it clear this week that there’s nothing they’re willing to support.”
It is still not clear whether Manchin’s proposals will make the legislation — which the Senate is expected to consider on Tuesday — nor is it clear whether the West Virginian will actually vote “yea” when his name is called.
“We’ll see what bill we have,” Manchin told reporters Thursday. “We don’t know what bill we’re going to have.”
With Post wires