Declaring the Democrats’ push for Senate Bill 1, the so-called For the People Act, a “fantasy of permanent power” for the Democratic Party, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), spoke just before the Senate vote late Tuesday that ended — for now — that Democratic fantasy. The vote was 50-50 on a motion to debate the “voting rights” bill. All 50 Democrats voted in favor of advancing the bill, while all 50 Republicans voted against it.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) joined their 47 Democratic colleagues and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in voting to begin discussion on the bill. Manchin has previously stated opposition to the Democrat Party-supported bill that passed the House of Representatives (H.R. 1), but voted to begin debate so his amended version can be considered. His bill would have made voter registration automatic, created a national holiday out of Election Day, dealt with “partisan” gerrymandering, and required a minimum of 15 days of early voting for federal elections.
But Manchin’s insistence that voter-ID regulations be more strict is opposed by most of his fellow Democrats.
Predictably, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Republican opposition to the bill meant that the Republicans had now made voter suppression an “official part of their platform.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Democrats were showing “disdain for the American people.”
Schumer said, “Today every single Democratic senator stood together in the fight to protect the right to vote in America. Voter suppression has become part of the official platform of the Republican Party.”
McConnell countered, “Many Democrats would pass [H.R. 1] with the slimmest possible majority, even after its companion faced bipartisan opposition over in the House.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said it was “the biggest power-grab in modern American history.”