Schumer, McConnell clash as Democrats push voting overhaul bill in Senate

More On:

chuck schumer

Dem tax rift: Sanders rips Pelosi, Schumer for backing repeal of SALT cap

To come back from COVID, NYC needs to tackle crime: Goodwin

Schumer swipes Cuomo, MTA as he calls for round-the-clock subways to resume

Chuck Schumer can’t stop woke progressives from chucking out SEC pick

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traded verbal blows Tuesday over a sweeping, Democrat-led election reform bill, that if signed into law, would be the most significant overhaul to U.S. elections since the 1960s. 

During a Senate Rules Committee hearing, the New York Democrat and Kentucky Republican battled over the merits of the legislation, known as S1 following passage as HR1 by Democrats in the House of Representatives, with Schumer arguing that it’s a necessary step to expand access to and confidence in the electoral system, and McConnell blasting it as a power grab by Democrats that overreaches into states’ rights. 

“We’ll hear a lot of flowery language today,” said McConnell. “But we all learned early in life if you can write the rules, you can win the game.”

McConnell said Democrats were pushing for action on similar legislation prior to 2020, saying the party now in power was sowing doubt in democracy with their messaging on the bill, which includes provisions requiring states to offer mail-in ballots, a minimum of 15 days of early voting and calls for online and would allow for same-day voter registration.

Republicans in both chambers have taken aim at its language to allow felons to vote, its provision weakening vote I.D. requirements and its allowance for voters to be able to designate a person to return their ballots for them, which they say will open the floodgates for ballot harvesting and fraud. 

“For multiple years now, Democrats have called this sweeping bill their top priority,” McConnell said.

“The substance of the legislation has hardly changed. But the supposed rationales for it have changed constantly. In 2016, American voters made a presidential decision that Democrats did not like,” he said.  

“This legislation was cooked up and presented as a massive overhaul, an emergency repair job for a broken democracy. Last autumn, voters made a decision that Democrats liked better. Suddenly their side stopped calling our democracy broken. Now our democracy was beyond reproach. But curiously enough, Democrats still want the exact same sweeping bill, just as desperately.”

McConnell went on to argue that Democrats’ allegations that the changes to the Georgia election law suppress voting have been debunked by fact-checkers. 

“The hysterical attacks that the political left has thrown at a new election law in Georgia, for example, have been thoroughly debunked by fact-checkers,” he continued.

Schumer took aim at former President Donald Trump for his repeated assertions that the election was stolen from him, and slammed a number of red states including Georgia and Florida for recent changes to their voting laws, arguing the “carry the stench of oppression” and Congress needs to take action. 

“Without proof or evidence, the former president and his allies repeated this lie, over and over again, poisoning faith in our democracy and fomenting an armed insurrection at the Capitol,” he said.

“And now, in states across the country, Republican legislatures have seized on the big lie to restrict the franchise, and inevitably make it harder for African-Americans, Latinos, students and the working poor to vote. Here in the 21st Century, we are witnessing an attempt at the greatest contraction of voting rights since the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow.”

The House passed its version on the legislation largely along party lines in March, with similar legislation having passed the lower chamber in 2019 prior to Democrats taking back control of the Senate. 

Known as the For the People Act, the legislation was given top billing on the Democratic agenda, but the path ahead is unclear. Moderate members of the Democratic caucus — not just Republicans — pose a sizable obstacle to the bill becoming law.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have both said they oppose making changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, which would be needed to maneuver the bill past Republican opposition and pass it with a simple majority in a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris delivering the tie-breaking 51st vote.

Manchin has called for any elections overhaul to be done on a bipartisan basis. Other Democrats want to pare back the bill to core voting protections to try to put Republicans on the spot.

Both Manchin and Sinema were getting face time with President Biden this week, as their votes are also vital to passing the president’s infrastructure plan. Manchin came to the White House on Monday, while Sinema was to do so on Tuesday, according to the White House.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article