GOP crushes Manchin’s hopes of election compromise

GOP crushes Manchin’s hopes of election compromise

“It must be blocked,” said Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who last week praised Manchin for “saving our country” in encouraging bipartisanship. “I’m not optimistic that they can change that enough to make it a fair bill. It would affect the rights of the states.”

The apparent general opposition of Republicans to bring up and potentially change Democrat legislation — as the Senate’s most swinging vote wishes — is taking the voting rights debate into a new phase. Schumer told Democrats at a caucus meeting on Thursday that the vote on the election bill will be Tuesday, June 22, according to a source familiar with the meeting. That bill needs 60 votes to pass a filibuster.

Manchin had long sought an approach with Republican input and one that he could support, but it has become clear that there is no path to a two-pronged compromise on electoral law. He said his opposition was not only because there was no GOP support, but also because the Democrats’ changes to, for example, publicly fund elections, went too far for him.

“They got confused thinking ‘the only reason you’re against it is because there are no Republicans.’ That’s not it at all. I think it should be twofold. I think it’s dangerous to do something so monumental,” Manchin said Wednesday after making some of his changes. “The other thing is, as a former secretary of state and governor, some things just didn’t make sense.”

Murkowski has joined Manchin with a proposal to revise the Voting Rights Act, but that legislation will wait until the fall. And that brings Congress to an impasse, to raging progressives.

Manchin is also among a group of Democrats who oppose demolishing the filibuster to make changes to election law, nor does it leave a partisan roadmap in a 50-50 Senate where Democrats would need every vote to make changes on party lines. That group of filibuster-repeal skeptics may shrink after next week’s vote on the so-called For the People Act, with several Democrats saying the GOP’s rejection of that bill could change their minds.

sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who has led the GOP’s opposition to the election bill because of its federalized approach to state elections, said, “Each of us is working on opportunities to partner with Sen. Manchin.” But he added that when “Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Senator Manchin’s proposal, it became Stacey Abram’s replacement, not Joe Manchin’s replacement.”

“I’m not against Joe. Joe tries his best to figure it out, “Okay, what can I find a middle ground on this.” I have no problem with Joe,” said Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.). “This is just, philosophically we don’t agree that we have to take everything in every election.”

The massive wave of Republican opposition comes as no surprise to most Democrats. Schumer said this week he was “confused” by those who think a two-pronged solution is possible, with clearly skeptical of Manchin’s hopes.

“I’m not too optimistic about Republicans’ votes,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), prompting Manchin to elaborate on his objections to the bill. “Only a handful of Republicans voted for the impartial committee to analyze what happened on January 6. I can’t imagine getting more than that for voting rights.”

Still, there could be more work going on behind the scenes. Earlier this week, Manchin convened an election meeting with his Republican colleagues. And if that ever spawns a new piece of legislation, some of Manchin’s allies won’t rule out action altogether.

“If Joe Manchin takes the lead and he gets a group together for a bipartisan electoral reform provision, I’ll be happy to work on that or consider it,” Romney said. “But that hasn’t happened yet.”

Marianne Levine contributed to this report.

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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