WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats will seek to push for a voting rights measure again next week, Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, announced Thursday, though Republicans are expected to push their way against legislation backed by all Democrats. Will maintain filebuster.
In a letter laying out the agenda for the Senate, New York Democrat Mr. Schumer said he will schedule a vote next Wednesday to begin the debate on the voting rights law that he and his fellow Democrats say. That needed to offset the new restrictions imposed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.
“We cannot allow conservative-controlled states to double down on their regressive and subversive voting bills,” Mr. Schumer said in the letter. “The Freedom to Vote Act is the law that will right the ship of our democracy and set common-sense national standards to provide all Americans with fair access to our democracy.”
His decision intensifies pressure on Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia, who was initially his party’s lone holdout on a sweeping voting rights measure passed by the House. Mr Manchin helped draft a compromise version, in which he said he hoped to garner bipartisan support, and sought time to win over Republicans to support it, but to no avail. There is little evidence that any GOP senator has exercised the option.
In the 50-50 Senate, the 10 Republicans joining each Democrat must gather the 60 votes needed to break up a filibuster of any voting rights bill and allow it to be considered.
Mr Manchin’s agreement limited the purposes of the law, which would require states to allow at least 15 days of early voting, ensure that all voters can request to vote by mail, and on Election Day. make it a national holiday with other provisions. It would also establish requirements for voter identification, but less difficult than those sought by Republicans.
Despite Mr Manchin’s outreach, there has been little sign of movement among Republicans, who have remained steadfast in their opposition to the Democratic voting push, calling it an attempt to federalize state elections and grab an advantage for the Democratic Party. His blockade of the voting rights bill has sparked calls for the filibuster rules to be abolished or changed, but Mr Manchin has resisted those efforts.
Some Democrats who have been agitating for such changes expressed hope that when Mr Manchin saw that even Republicans were unwilling to support his compromise measure, despite his repeated pledges. Abandoned his opposition to changing the rules that he would never do.
In his letter, Mr Schumer said Democrats would also continue their internal negotiations to come up with a final version of a comprehensive social safety net bill, which has been slowed by differences between progressives and moderates over its cost and content. He warned lawmakers would need to make concessions to get the last resort.
“In order to pass meaningful legislation, we must set aside our differences and find common ground within our party,” Mr. Schumer said. “With any bill of such historical proportions, not every member will get everything he or she wants.”