John Lewis’ franchise bill faces steep climb in Senate
WASHINGTON – The “For The People Act” is not the only voting rights bill with problems.
The other proposal on the Democrats’ agenda – named after the late Civil Rights Leader and Congressman John Lewis, who died last July – faces a steep climb to win the 10 Republicans needed to break an obstruction to the government. Senate, according to conversations with key senators.
Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to approve the proposal, expressed uncertainty on Monday when asked to outline the path to 60 votes in the equally divided chamber.
âI don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a challenge. I think we just have to be honest with this,â Murkowski told NBC News. “You have to find a huge number of Republicans to join us on this subject.”
His remarks came a day after Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., dashed hopes to pass the For The People Act, an election overhaul bill that would ensure universal access to postal voting and 15 days of early voting in all 50 states.
Cement his opposition in an opinion piece for Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin wrote that Congress should not revise electoral rules based on party line and should instead focus on John Lewis’ Advancement of Voting Rights Act because “there is support bipartite to adopt it “.
But getting 10 GOP votes would be a chore, even if all Democrats are backing it.
Murkowski’s friend and moderate colleague Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, did not say whether she supported John Lewis’ proposal when asked on Monday. His office declined to comment.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the former caucus returning chief, said he opposed the measure and intended to speak to his colleagues “so they understand what the implications are.” .
“It’s basically doing through the back door what the Democrats are trying to do through the front door on S.1 and HR1,” he said, using the names of Congress for the plans. law. “What I don’t want to happen is that if S.1 doesn’t make it because people like Senator Manchin oppose it, people say, ‘Well, this is is a kind of less inclusive layout. “It is just as important a problem as S.1.”
When asked if he thinks 10 Republicans could back him, Cornyn replied, “I hope not.”
“American democracy is at stake”
Democrats say Bill John Lewis is not a viable substitute for Bill S.1 because it would not overturn restrictive voting laws that have been passed in Republican-led states like Georgia and Florida – it would simply require certain states to obtain prior approval from the federal government for future changes to election laws.
“In my opinion, the future of American democracy is at stake,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Who speaks with Democrats. âIt is unacceptable that we have Republican legislatures and governors actively working to suppress the vote for people of color, for young people, so they can retain power. And we must do everything we can to bypass the Republican legislatures. “
A Democratic staff member who worked on the For The People Act said the John Lewis Bill lacked full legislative language and was not as far along in its development.
âIt’s hard to overstate what’s at stake here,â said Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. âWe need the John Lewis Voting Rights Act because it has a powerful tool called preclearance, which will protect future elections. But we need to find a way to protect the attack on democracy that is occurring in this moment and John Lewis alone will not change that. “
Senator Mike Rounds, RS.D., said electoral rules should be in the hands of the states, a common opinion among his fellow Republicans.
He also expressed his skepticism about the proposal on the table.
âThere are so many issues with this particular law that I find it very difficult to support it,â Rounds said.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Said Democrats were doing the wrong thing when asked about the prospects for the John Lewis Act.
“They want too much too soon,” he said.
Senator John Kennedy, R-La., Said he did not have “a clue of” John Lewis’ Advancement of Voting Rights Act.
“I don’t know enough about it. I need to hear more arguments for and against,” he said. “I don’t like the fact that this involves bureaucrats and the Department of Justice telling states what they can and cannot do.”
Cornyn argued that the existing provisions of the Voting Rights Act are sufficient to protect access to the ballot box, citing the “high level of minority voting” across the country.
“We have to identify the problem that we are trying to solve,” he said. “What if additional federal laws are needed, or is section 2 of the Voting Rights Act sufficient to protect minority voting rights? I have to believe it is.”