May 20, 2021 | From Just the News
Democrats in the Senate are facing the fact that their sweeping election overhaul bill, S.1 (the “For the People Act”), will likely die in the upper chamber.
IFA intercessors sent thousands and thousands of messages to representatives and senators about this bill. You prayed and you acted and the bill is dead!
Caucus leaders are beginning to contemplate pivoting to a vehicle with broader appeal, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a beefed-up version of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that would restore and extend mandatory oversight from the Department of Justice over election procedures in jurisdictions deemed to have histories of prejudicial voting laws.
Though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have repeatedly emphasized the importance of passing H.R. 1/S. 1, the Senate bill is currently stuck in a partisan deadlock in committee with no clear path toward passage.
Last week, Democrats met to brainstorm how to move forward, but no conclusion was reached, and some Democrats — including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key swing vote in the 50-50 Senate — declined to participate in the conversation at all. . . .
S. 1 is “too darn broad, and we got no bipartisan support,” Manchin said last week. . . .
Even Democrats to the left of Manchin are signaling that S. 1 may not be worth a fight that will likely end in defeat. . . .
It is that imperative to find an election reform vehicle that can unify the party that has some in the caucus eyeing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — which Manchin has said he will support — as a pragmatic alternative.
On Monday, Manchin and moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sent a letter to the leaders of Congress encouraging the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (i.e., the John Lewis bill). The letter signals centrist support for voting reform in a form more modest than S. 1. — but that might not be enough for some Democrats.
Murphy cautioned that the John Lewis bill, which has not yet been filed in this Congress (a version — H.R. 4 — was introduced in December of 2019), does not go far enough. . . .
Pragmatically, some Democrats fear that failure to deliver on S. 1 will mean disaster in 2022 for more reasons than one. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a progressive, says that giving up on the transformative election reform package will signal weakness to the base. . . .
A recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law found that H.R. 1 is the single highest priority for progressive voters, who believe it will counter the wave of election integrity reforms adopted by GOP-majority legislatures across the country. . . .
Republicans vehemently reject H.R. 1/S.1 as a gratuitous solution to a non-existent problem. They have labeled the bill a power grab by Washington Democrats intent on federalizing elections to make it extremely difficult for the party out of power to regain control. . . .
Many black conservatives have stepped forward to denounce the racial condescension implied in Democrat efforts to stigmatize voter ID requirements as “voter suppression” tactics targeting blacks. . . .
Schumer has promised to bring S. 1 to the floor for a vote by August, giving him about two months to come up with a viable strategy to overcome the significant obstacles currently impeding passage of the bill. The House Judiciary Committee is gearing up for hearings that will lead to the reintroduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act later this summer.
Republicans, meanwhile, hope that holdouts remain holdouts. . . .
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(Excerpt from Just the News. Article by Sophie Mann. Photo by Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images)