POLITICAL NEWS

GOP ready to block elections bill in Senate showdown

Published on June 22, 2021 10:08 AM

by BRIAN SLODYSKO, CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY and LISA MASCARO

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As recently as last week, Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat, said he couldn’t support the bill without changes he wanted as a way to draw Republican support.
 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats' expansive elections and voting bill is all but certain to be rejected in a key test vote in the Senate, providing a dramatic example of Republicans' use of the filibuster to block legislation and forcing hard questions for Democrats over next steps.

The far-reaching proposal, at nearly 900 pages, is viewed by backers as the civil rights issue of the era, legislation that is suddenly of the highest priority after the 2020 election as states impose restrictive new laws that could make it more difficult to vote. In the evenly split Senate, Republicans are united in opposition, seeing the bill as federal overreach and denying Democrats the 60 votes that would be needed to overcome the filibuster and begin debate.

"There's a rot, a rot a the center of the modern Republican Party," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday, hours ahead of the expected vote. "Should the United States Senate even debate how to protect the voting rights of our citizens? There's only one correct answer. We'll see if our Republican colleagues chose it this afternoon."

Months in the making, Tuesday's showdown over the For the People Act, as it is called, is hardly the end of the road but the start of long campaign ahead. President Joe Biden has vowed what the White House calls the "fight of his presidency" over ensuring Americans' access to the polls. At stake is not only election rules that make it easier to vote but also Democrats' ability to confront the limits of bipartisanship and ...