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GOP crushes Manchin’s hopes for elections compromise

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

The apparent blanket Republican opposition to bringing Democrats’ legislation to the floor and potentially amending it — as the Senate’s swingiest vote desires — moves the voting rights debate to a new phase. Schumer told Democrats at a Thursday caucus meeting that the vote on the elections bill will be Tuesday, June 22, according to a source familiar with the meeting. That bill will need 60 votes to proceed over a filibuster.

Manchin had long sought an approach that had input from Republicans and one that he could support, but it’s become apparent there is no road to a bipartisan compromise on election legislation. He said his opposition wasn’t just because there was no GOP support, but also because Democrats’ changes to help publicly finance elections, for example, went too far for him.

“They got confused thinking ‘the only reason you’re against it is because there’s no Republicans.’ That’s not it at all. I think it should be bipartisan. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do something that monumental” on party lines, Manchin said on Wednesday after he rolled out some of his changes. “The other thing is there were some things, being a former secretary of state and governor, that just didn’t make sense.”

Murkowski has joined Manchin on a proposal to re-up the Voting Rights Act, but that legislation will wait until the fall. And that leaves Congress in a deadlock, infuriating progressives.

Manchin is also among a group of Democrats opposed to gutting the filibuster to install elections law changes, leaving no partisan road map either in a 50-50 Senate where Democrats would need every single 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 opposition to the elections bill because of its federalized approach to state elections, said “every one of us works for opportunities to work with Sen. Manchin.” But he added that when “Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Manchin’s proposal, it became the Stacey Abram’s substitute, not the Joe Manchin substitute.”

“I’m not opposed to Joe. Joe does a great job of trying to figure out: ‘OK, where can I get a middle ground on this.’ I have no issue with Joe,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “This is just, philosophically we disagree that we should go take over everything in every election.”

The massive wave of Republican opposition does not come as a surprise to most Democrats. Schumer said this week that he was “befuddled” by those that think a bipartisan solution is possible, voicing clear skepticism of Manchin’s hopes.

“I’m not that optimistic about Republican votes,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who pushed Manchin to detail his objections with the election bill. “Only a handful of Republicans voting for the nonpartisan commission to analyze what happened on Jan. 6, I can’t imagine you’re going to get more than that for voting rights.”

Still, more work could happen behind the scenes. Earlier this week, Manchin convened a meeting on elections with his Republican colleagues. And if that ever births a new piece of legislation, some of Manchin’s allies aren’t ruling out action entirely.

“If there is an effort that Joe Manchin leads and he gets a group together on a bipartisan election reform provision I’m happy to work on that or consider it,” Romney said. “But that hasn’t happened yet.”

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

Author: Burgess Everett
This post originally appeared on Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

Republicans Rip Joe Manchin’s Proposed Voting ‘Compromise’

Republicans Rip Joe Manchin

Senate Republicans made clear on Thursday they oppose all Democratic ideas aiming to overhaul the nation’s voting systems ― even those proposed by moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Their hard-line stance against any federal voting legislation underscores that there is very little chance for a bipartisan outcome on the matter, which Manchin has been insisting on.

Manchin on Wednesday outlined the voting provisions he would support in the For the People Act, a sweeping package of voting rights, campaign finance, ethics and redistricting reforms. His “compromise” list ― which is designed to unite Democrats together more than anything ― includes things like expanding early voting, mandating automatic voter registration, making Election Day a holiday, and other measures intended to expand access to the ballot. It does not include other, more expansive things supported by his fellow Democrats, such as public financing of elections.

But if there was any chance of getting Republicans on board with a more narrow bill, those hopes were quickly dashed on Thursday. Appearing at a press conference with a dozen other GOP senators, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Manchin’s ideas “no compromise.”

“All Republicans will oppose that as well,” he said of Manchin’s narrower list of voting reforms.

In a statement issued prior to the press conference, McConnell said Manchin’s proposal “subverts the First Amendment to supercharge cancel culture and the left’s name-and-shame campaign model.”

Republicans were also quick to note that Democratic former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams had endorsed Manchin’s list of proposed voting changes, a way to dismiss the proposals as not actually bipartisan.

“When Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Manchin’s proposal, it became the Stacey Abrams’ substitute, not the Joe Manchin substitute,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said.

Republicans have now functionally killed both of Manchin’s ideas on voting ― the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a narrow measure that would restore the ability of the Justice Department to oversee state election law changes, and his latest “compromise” offer on the For the People Act.

But when asked about McConnell’s stance on Thursday, Manchin seemed undeterred.

“McConnell has a right to do whatever he thinks he can do. I would hope that there’s enough good Republicans who understand the bedrock of our society is having an accessible, fair, open election,” Manchin said, repeating a version of something he said before Republicans ultimately filibustered legislation to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

He expressed hope that bipartisan relationships forged in the Senate on other issues would ultimately help convince enough Republicans to support a voting bill.

“They’ll use those same connections and same relationships when we get into challenging areas right now with voting. I’m thinking they could reach out and help a little bit,” Manchin said.

Manchin has repeatedly vowed never to support eliminating the Senate filibuster, which stands in the way of passing legislation on voting rights, gun control, immigration, climate and a whole host of other priorities for Democrats. He’s shown no willingness to bend on the matter even as Republicans have rejected his efforts to forge bipartisan compromise.

The issue will come to a head next week when the Senate holds an initial vote to formally open debate on a voting bill. Democratic leaders have not said what kinds of changes, if any, they’ll make to the For the People Act, but it’s likely they will look something like what Manchin outlined this week. They’ll need his support to advance anything to the floor, and he indicated on Thursday that he would vote to proceed and at least start debate on the matter.

“I think we all want to do that,” Manchin said.

Even if Democrats ultimately win over Manchin, however, the bill is almost certainly going to be filibustered by Republicans.

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This post originally appeared on HuffPost – Breaking News, U.S. and World News