Sanders Signals Openness to Manchin Voting Rights Compromise | New
Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday signaled his openness to the changes proposed by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to radical elections revise legislation debated in Congress.
“Looks like I’m prepared to do whatever I can to protect American democracy,” said Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, when pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash on “the state of the Union “if he supported Manchin’s proposal. “We’ll do our best … I like what the House passed, HR 1.”
Sanders told Bash he viewed the House bill as a “serious and comprehensive effort to protect American democracy,” adding, “We will see what evolves here in the Senate.”
The Senate is about to vote on whether to advance electoral legislation, the so-called People’s Law, in its current form which lacks Republican support and falls short of the 60 votes needed to pass.
Last week Manchin left open the option that he could support an amended bill after previously opposing the bill. He said he was ready to support many of the provisions of the For the People Act, including declaring election day a public holiday, extending early voting to at least 15 consecutive days and banning partisan gerrymandering.
But in return for his crucial support, Manchin wants to demand ID to vote that includes a utility bill as an alternative. Many progressives see the requirement as discriminatory against racial minorities but Republicans see it as essential in deterring potential election fraud.
The compromise effort was approved by the voting rights champion Stacey Abrams.
Manchin has long said he believes any change of this magnitude must also have the support of Republicans.
In trying to woo Republicans to support a compromise effort, he held a teleconference with several GOP senators – although the prospects of winning 60 Senate votes 50-50 are extremely dire.
Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the plan and indicated that Republicans would not support the proposal.
CNN’s Daniela Diaz, Alex Rogers and Manu Raju contributed to this report.