Voting rights clash hurtles Senate toward nuclear breakdown

“This is just a fundamental disagreement … people think we should make the vote easier,” said Klobuchar. “We keep talking to them to see if there is something in common. But right now you see a fundamental difference between the two parties in the vote. Let’s not gloss over it.”

However, the Voting Rights Act is not only faced with GOP opposition. Unlike immigration, infrastructure, or even guns, no senators talk across the aisle about whether a compromise can be reached. This dynamic, coupled with the democratic urge to use electoral legislation as a stage for a filibuster showdown, puts the already deadlocked Senate on the path to a new rift over its own rules and the fabric of American elections.

“I don’t think there is anything in common. And on the bigger question of whether it is better to federalize the national electoral process or let states and local officials do this for over 200 years, there really isn’t much compromise there,” said Blunt.

When asked about areas to negotiate with Blunt and other Republicans, Klobuchar replied that the Democratic Bill contains nine bipartisan provisions. Blunt’s retort: ​​”So what? That means absolutely nothing.”

The gap between them is painfully evident ahead of the regulatory body’s scheduled hearing on Wednesday on the vote passed by Parliament. This comprehensive bill provides for automatic voter registration, increases disclosure requirements for political expenditures, and creates a public funding system for congressional elections.

Democrats argue that before the next round of redistribution in Congress and mid-term 2022, existing legislation is their only chance to prevent GOP-controlled lawmakers from introducing stricter voter identification laws that would constrain voter lists.

“People want to know where people like me fall for the filibuster. I think the bigger question is: where do they fall on the voting right? “Said Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who raised the matter with President Joe Biden on Monday night. “The filibuster is a Senate rule. The right to vote depends on who we are as Americans. “

But even if it were up to Klobuchar and the Senate Democrats killed the filibuster to pass the electoral law, they would still face serious problems. Democrats do not yet have 50 votes in the Senate for the measure because Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Is non-binding. He is also against crossing the 60-vote threshold for filibusters and exposing the massive reform package to failure.

Manchin said in an interview that he would like to see bipartisan talks on voting rights, adding that there is no point in entering into negotiations on a bill that so clearly separates the two parties.

“There are many things that I think are great about this calculation. Lots of things, “said Manchin.” And that’s what we’re going to work on. “

He might be the only person in the Senate who believes a serious negotiation is possible. When you talk to senators about bipartisan collaboration on voting matters, they are likely to mention Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) Who worked on election security during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.

But Lankford said the Democrats’ current proposal was “not a serious attempt to address electoral security and give everyone the opportunity to vote. It really is the vehicle to break the filibuster. “

“You’re just saying, ‘Racist Republicans are trying to suppress the vote, so we have to do this 800-page bill,” said Lankford, who recalled past productive discussions with Klobuchar about electoral integrity. Democrats claim, “if we do the filibuster don’t break it, we’ll lose democracy, “he said.

In fact, that’s not far from the democratic message. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Put it simply, “There are some voting reforms that Republicans may accept, but a direct attack on electoral repression is not on their agenda.”

And the House Democrats are not dancing around their desire to postpone the voting law over the filibuster.

“I’m all for bipartisanism, and certainly the filibuster … can be seen as a mechanism that encourages, encourages, and mandates bipartisanism,” said Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.). “But if there is one tool that was primarily developed during the Jim Crow era to prevent a lot of anti-discrimination and civil rights laws, I think it deserves a second look.”

The political paralysis that plagues the Democrats’ voting proposal comes when new questions about its practicality emerge before the Senate scrutinizes it. Some electoral administrators and experts have tacitly expressed concern about some provisions of the electoral system in the bill, despite endorsing the ethos and purpose of the overall legislation.

“The devil is in the details,” said a state secretary at the democratic state level [the broader bill]We want to work closely with Congress to ensure that states with highly accessible electoral systems are protected, that they are protected and that they are not inadvertently altered. “

Staff working on the voting rights law said the election administrators’ concerns will be considered later in the process. But that only works if the invoice goes through a process.

Currently, it appears that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be bringing up the legislation later this year only to face a wall of GOP opposition. As previously written, the voting rights package is unlikely to receive a single Republican supporter and it will stand in the Senate once it is released.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said “there is an understandable reluctance from Republicans” about a bill that “would essentially federalize decisions made at the state level”. Blunt said some of his GOP colleagues were promoting the idea of ​​a Republican alternative to what Democrats called the “For the People Act”. However, Blunt does not support this approach and cites the history of states holding their own elections.

And despite its reputation as a bipartisan compromise, Klobuchar has no desire to give a reason at the moment.

“We love working on things with them. But they have drawn a line in the sand that they do not want to see changes if there are clear efforts to suppress voters as recognized by the courts, “she said. “The people are on our side. Including a number of Republican voters who do not want the right to vote in the mail. “

Zach Montellaro and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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