Democrats’ voting rights bill is all but certain to fail in the Senate on Tuesday as Republicans move to block the progressive priority and Joe Biden failed to get centrist Joe Manchin to back the legislation.
Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the legislation on Monday as a ‘disastrous proposal’ that will get ‘no quarter’ in the Senate.
Senator Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, met with Biden at the White House on Monday afternoon as the president attempted to persuade him to support the bill that would expand voting rights.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is bringing a vote to the floor Tuesday on a motion to begin debate on the amended version of legislation that passed the House in March.
The procedural vote, however, would need 60 votes to succeed – and there is no indication any Republican senators will support the bill, let alone 10.
Manchin has also said he opposes the bill, arguing that any major voting or election legislation must have bipartisan support, or else he will go against it.
Republicans are prepared to block a procedural vote on Democrats’ voting rights bill on Tuesday, which needs 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) blasted the bill as a ‘disastrous proposal’ that will get ‘no quarter’ in the Senate
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (left) still wasn’t sure as of Monday evening if he would support the bill, even after meeting with President Joe Biden (right) at the White House earlier that afternoon
With a 50-50 split Senate, any single Democratic defector could kill a bill.
On Monday evening – after his meeting with the president – Manchin said he still doesn’t know if he will vote to advance the bill.
‘I got to see. I hope they make some changes or agree to some changes,’ Manchin said at the Capitol.
‘I think we put out an awful lot of good changes, I think, hopefully, the country would agree … that makes a lot of sense for a lot of voters,’ he continued.
A White House official said during the meeting Monday, Biden ‘expressed his sincere appreciation for Senator Manchin’s efforts to achieve reform.’
‘The President conveyed that he sees voting rights as one of the most urgent issues facing our nation during his administration, and made it clear how important he thinks it is that the Senate find a path forward on this issue,’ the official continued in a statement on the meeting between the two. ‘ They also discussed bipartisan negotiations on infrastructure.’
Biden also met with Senator Kyrsten Sinema at the White House on Monday. The Arizona Democrat has also emerged as a moderate voice in the party who could derail legislation as the party holds power in the legislative and executive branches.
The 900-page For the People Act would need to overcome a filibuster by Republicans to reach debate on the Senate floor. The procedural vote requires 60 backers to avoid a filibuster, but if the bill were to make it to the floor, only 51 votes are needed to get it passed into law.
Vice President Kamala Harris acts as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
Democrats have been working hard to get rid of the filibuster as part of other legislation, something Republicans and some Democrats – including Manchin and Sinema – opposed fervently.
‘The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings,’ Sinema wrote Monday in an op/ed for The Washington Post.
She welcomed a full debate on the voting bill ‘so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences.’
‘My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy,’ Sinema wrote. ‘The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.’
Sinema urged her colleagues to see that if the filibuster is revoked, it could be used against them in the future when Republicans once again hold a majority in the Senate.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would continue to push for voting rights legislation even if a test vote fails in the Senate Tuesday. She also said Manchin’s compromise idea was a ‘step forward’
Backers of the voting bill claim it is an extension of civil rights that gets rid of laws that make it harder for some Americans to cast a ballot, but critics claim it’s just another example of federal overreach.
Manchin proposed some changes to the bill last week that he feels would garner more bipartisan support, including adding a provision for a national voter ID requirement to vote and dropping a proposed public financing of campaigns.
While his version of the bill was well received by the Biden administration as a ‘step forward’, it did not garner the support of progressive Democrats.
‘It’s a step forward,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s press briefing.
‘We don’t expect there to be a magical 10 votes. I’m not suggesting that. But just two weeks ago, there were questions about whether Democrats would be aligned,’ she added.
‘If the vote is unsuccessful tomorrow, we suspect it will prompt a new conversation about the path forward and we’ll see where that goes,’ Psaki predicted.