The Senate GOP is slated to bar Democrats' landmark legislation on voting rights on Tuesday. However, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin made a declaration that he will join his colleagues in a showcase of unity against the Republican action. According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Manchin will vote to set forth with debate on the measure in exchange for an assurance from Schumer that Manchin's proposed amendment with significant changes would get a vote if debate opened.
Former President Barack Obama has voiced out support for a compromise plan proposed by Manchin as an alternative to the landmark election reform bill slated for a key vote in the Senate on Tuesday. This involves a number of alterations other Democrats on Capitol Hill have opposed.
For the People Act
According to Obama on a phone call with National Democratic Redistricting Committee volunteers on Monday, "The bill itself, which is called the For the People Act, is a product of compromise, an effort by maybe the most conservative Democrat in the Senate or maybe the most conservative Democrat in Congress, Joe Manchin of West Virginia to come up with some common-sense reforms that the majority of Americans agree with, that Democrats and Republicans can agree with," reported ABC News.
The GOP barred an expansive election reform and voting rights bill set forth by Democrats in a party-line vote. All Democrats, with a 50-50 vote, were in favor and all Republicans opposed, the bill. The motion failed, with VP Kamala Harris monitoring the chamber, reported Spectrum News 1.
If the effort of Democrats to get the law passed is not blocked by Republicans, it may be one of the biggest changes in the way elections are done in the US. The For the People Act would touch on virtually all aspects of how elections are conducted. It would strike down requirements that its supporters say prevent people from voting. It will also restrict partisan influence over the drawing of congressional districts and curb the influence of money in politics, reported ABC 7.
This situation provides a remarkable example of the use of the filibuster of Republicans to bar legislation. It also forces Democrats to contend with what to do next.
The almost 900 pages proposal is viewed by backers as the civil rights issue of the era. It is seen as a priority as states impose limiting new laws that could make it harder to vote after last year's elections.
According to several members of the GOP, the measure represents a remarkable federal infringement on states' authority to establish their own elections without fraud. Some Republicans derided the bill as the "Screw the People Act" and denied Democrats the 60 votes necessitated to commence debate.
Manchin issued a statement indicated that while he does not support the initial bill Democrats are pushing, he has discovered "common ground" on a probable new version.