Mitch McConnell Opposes Voting Measure Sought By Joe Manchin
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Spoke out on Tuesday against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and dealt a severe blow to a compromise election measure sought by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Manchin has angered its Democratic counterparts over its rejection of the For the People Act, a package of comprehensive voting and ethical reforms that Democrats have described as key to democracy's survival. Some argued that changes to federal elections should be bipartisan to instill confidence in the elections.
Instead, Manchin wants Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, another Democratic move backed by Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Named after the late civil rights legend and MP John Lewis (D-Ga.), This legislation is narrower and, in theory, would address the GOP's efforts to restrict electoral access at the state level.
In particular, the bill would restore the provision of the 1965 Suffrage Act, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2013 and required states with a history of discrimination to coordinate all proposed state-level voting changes with the federal government.
But, as McConnell demonstrated Tuesday, Republicans are unlikely to support restoring that provision, meaning Manchin's preferred alternative to voting is dead upon arrival in the Senate as well.
“The right to vote is not at risk. It is already against the law to discriminate on the basis of race when voting, ”the Kentucky Republican said at a weekly press conference Tuesday when asked about the legislation.
Apart from Murkowski, no other Republican has spoken out in favor of the law. It would take at least nine more GOP senators to advance in the Senate.
Manchin's opposition to the For the People Act has led the Democrats to find a way forward on voting as more GOP-led states adopt partisan vote changes ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Has vowed to vote on the bill later this month, but without all 50 members of his faction on board, he may not even speak.
Schumer told reporters Tuesday that Democrats could make changes to the For the People Act to address Manchin's concerns. Manchin is expected to raise objections to the bill this week.
Manchin's position on the bill remains unchanged after meeting senior civil rights activists who urged him to support the legislation earlier Tuesday. The Senator called the meeting “very, very good”, “respectful” and “informative”, but was not deterred by the arguments of the group.
"I am very concerned about our democracy, about protecting people's voting rights and making sure this is done and making sure we know how fragile we are as a country," said Manchin after the meeting.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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