WASHINGTON — The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to advance the Democrats’ sweeping election overhaul legislation, an attempt that is likely to be thwarted by a Republican-backed filibuster.
The Democratic-controlled Senate will hold a procedural vote on an amended version of the House-passed “For The People Act,” which will require at least 10 GOP senators to join all 50 Democrats to clear the needed 60-vote threshold.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill an effort to respond to restrictive voting laws in GOP-led states like Georgia, but argued that the procedural vote is simply to allow debate and an amendment process that will shape the eventual bill.
“It’s not a vote on any particular policy. It’s not a vote on this bill or that bill. It’s a vote on whether the Senate should simply debate voting rights,” he said Monday. “Donald Trump, with his despicable lies, has lit a fire under Republican state legislatures and they have launched the most sweeping effort at voter suppression in 80 years.”
Schumer pre-emptively criticized Republicans for opposing the vote, saying the GOP “doesn’t even want to debate” the issue.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that the legislation won’t advance, vowing to rally enough Republican opposition and arguing the bill was “designed to fail” by Democrats who had intentionally included partisan pieces they oppose.
McConnell called the bill a “radical proposal” designed to “rig the rules of American elections permanently, permanently in Democrats’ favor.”
“That’s why the Senate will give this disastrous proposal no quarter,” he said.
The legislation is co-sponsored by 49 Democratic members of the Senate. The one holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has opened the door to supporting a compromise version and is expected to vote with his party on the procedural motion.
The bill consists of a expansive wish list of progressive priorities, such as requiring 15 days of early voting and mail-in voting. It would impose new limits on campaign finance and require that presidential nominees release their tax returns.
It has been rejected by top Republicans as a nonstarter.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of McConnell’s leadership team, told reporters Monday that he expects every Republican to vote to block the bill.
A Monmouth University poll released Monday found that registered voters favor key provisions in the bill, including 69 percent who favor national guidelines to allow mail-in voting and in-person voting in every state, compared to 25 percent who oppose that idea.
The survey found that requiring photo identification to vote, which is not included in the Democratic bill, is backed by 80 percent of American voters.
Former President Barack Obama said Monday it was “not acceptable” for Republicans to block debate on the For The People Act “in the aftermath of an insurrection, with our democracy on the line.”