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Politics Dems set voting bill showdown as GOP rejects Manchin plan

02:05  18 june  2021
02:05  18 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

The left hates Joe Manchin. His fellow Senate Dems are staying quiet.

  The left hates Joe Manchin. His fellow Senate Dems are staying quiet. Yet angst is quietly rising inside the Democratic caucus over his approach. “Of course I’m frustrated. Who isn’t frustrated?” one Democratic senator said.After all, the 50-vote Senate majority needs Manchin's vote to do just about anything. So not even its most progressive members seem to want to poke the bear.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is set for a key vote Tuesday on a sweeping rewrite of voting and election law, setting up a dramatic test of Democratic unity on a top priority that Republicans are vowing to block.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the chamber after a news conference to criticize the Democrat push to pass a voting rights bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) © Provided by Associated Press Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the chamber after a news conference to criticize the Democrat push to pass a voting rights bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats appeared to be coalescing Thursday around changes to the bill that could win the support of moderate West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone Democratic holdout on the legislation. Yet they still faced lockstep Republican opposition that will likely leave Democrats back where they started: lacking the votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Manchin's proposal “equally unacceptable.”

Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin

  Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin Sen. Joe Manchin's defiant statement that he will not vote for a sweeping election reform bill nor vote to get rid of the filibuster has progressive groups and some Democratic lawmakers wondering when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will get tough with the West Virginia Democrat.Manchin is a member of Schumer's leadership team and Schumer has several points of leverage, including the power to replace him as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But Schumer doesn't have a reputation for getting tough with colleagues. Instead, he keeps them close and hardly ever criticizes Democratic senators who cause him headaches.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key infrastructure negotiator, talks to his staff on the Senate subway after working behind closed doors with other Democrats in a basement room at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) © Provided by Associated Press Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key infrastructure negotiator, talks to his staff on the Senate subway after working behind closed doors with other Democrats in a basement room at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“Republicans are digging in their heels,” said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “They’ve made it pretty clear this week that there’s nothing they’re willing to support.”

The bill, known as the For the People Act, has been touted as Democrats' answer to a state level-GOP push to enact voting restrictions following the 2020 election. It passed the House in March, but has bogged down in the Senate as Democrats have debated among themselves — with Manchin ultimately declaring he couldn’t vote for it because it lacked bipartisan support.

Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure

  Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure Manchin dashed hopes on the left that recent events might compel him to reconsider his support for keeping the Senate's 60-vote rule to pass bills.The moderate Democrat, in a Sunday op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, not only revealed his opposition to the Democratic-backed For the People Act but reiterated he won't vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.

Yet Manchin's position has evolved and after he proposed a series of changes this week to narrow its scope, compromise appeared to be nearing. His proposal received a boost Thursday when Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who is a leading Democratic voice on voting rights, said she “absolutely” supported it.

“What Sen. Manchin is putting forward are some basic building blocks that we need to ensure that democracy is accessible," Abrams told CNN.

Still, in a narrowly divided Senate where Democrats must count on Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes, any compromise is will likely be for naught unless changes are made to Senate filibuster rules, which Manchin and others oppose. For now, it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and advance legislation.

Over a dozen Senate Republicans took turns at the microphone during a Thursday news conference to denounce the bill, which they view as a federal overreach into state and local elections.

Inside Biden and Manchin's Joemance

  Inside Biden and Manchin's Joemance Democratic senators say that only the president can convince the influential centrist to sign off on key parts of the party's agenda.Four months after Biden helped secure Manchin’s vote for a party-line, $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, the president is taking a different approach with the West Virginia Democrat who's blocking multiple party priorities. Biden didn't sound pleased last week when, during a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, he appeared to take a public swipe at Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) by citing two Democrats who frequently sided with Republicans.

McConnell predicted all Republicans would remain in lockstep opposition regardless of what changes are made. Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 ranking Senate Republican, noted the endorsement by Abrams, who is a lighting rod for GOP criticism.


Video: 'The Affordable Care Act has won' -Sen. Schumer (Reuters)

“I actually think when Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Machin’s proposal it became the Stacey Abrams (bill), not the Joe Manchin (bill),” he told reporters Thursday.

As written, the Democrats’ bill would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would blunt laws erected in the name of election security, like voter ID requirements, while curtailing the influence of big money in politics. It would create a nonpartisan process for redrawing congressional districts, expand mail voting and early voting, restore the rights of felons to cast a ballot, and scores of other provisions.

Manchin's counter-offer, which is intended to entice GOP support, would leave significant portions of the sprawling bill intact, while curtailing, rewriting or eliminating other key parts.

The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin

  The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin It was March 5, right before the Senate’s doomed vote to raise the minimum wage to $15, and, as usual, Sen. Joe Manchin was the center of attention. But there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism. That tally surprisedBut there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism.

“Color me a little a little skeptical,” Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, said of the possibility of bipartisanship.

What will ultimately come to the floor for a vote Tuesday remains unclear. Also not certain: whether Manchin will vote for it.

“We’ll see what bill we have,” he told reporters Thursday. “We don’t know what bill we’re going to have.”

A national voter ID requirement favored by Manchin has emerged as one sticking point with some Democrats.

Manchin's proposal is far softer than the strict photo ID requirements adopted by some states. It would require all states to check ID, but various documents including a utility bill could be used instead of a photo ID, a requirement already adopted by 15 states including Manchin's West Virginia.

“That is what we're negotiating,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is playing a lead role in guiding the legislation.

Polls have shown notable bipartisan support for voter ID requirements, and Democrats in their elections overhaul focused on the strictest ID laws. In the current Senate bill, Democrats would require states with an ID law to allow voters who show up without identification to cast a regular ballot as long as they sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury.

“We might squabble about one of two things,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, of Georgia. “But I am not about to sacrifice the good in the pursuit of the perfect.”

Klobuchar said she would continue to work on the bill over the weekend and was optimistic all 50 Senate Democrats would support it.

“If we reach unity on a voting bill in the Democratic Party, with all of the debates we’ve been having over the last few months, I don’t think anything’s over yet,” she said.

Voting rights bill poised for Senate action while Republicans remain opposed, Manchin offers compromise .
The For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill, faces stiff opposition from Republicans.Democrats hailed the For the People Act – a sweeping bill aimed at protecting voters' rights, increasing election security and mandating independent redistricting, among other provisions – as a bold countermeasure to restrictive voting measures pursued in states. Republicans slammed the legislation as overreaching, arguing elections should be left to the states, not the federal government.

usr: 1
This is interesting!