The other Democratic senators who are co-sponsors include Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Alex Padilla of California and Raphael Warnock, the Georgia freshman who faces a potentially tough reelection fight next year. Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, has also signed onto the bill known as the Freedom to Vote Act, according to the statement.
The new bill would make it easier to register to vote, make Election Day a public holiday, ensure states have early voting for federal elections and allow all voters to request mail-in ballots. In addition, the measure would bolster security on voting systems, overhaul how House districts are redrawn and impose new disclosures on donations to outside groups active in political campaigns.
“Following the 2020 elections in which more Americans voted than ever before, we have seen unprecedented attacks on our democracy in states across the country,” Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said in a statement. “These attacks demand an immediate federal response.”
But Republicans say the Democrats’ plans have amounted to a heavy-handed partisan overreach by the federal government to tip the scales of close races.
In the face of the GOP opposition, liberals have pushed Manchin to agree to a “carveout” — and allow for a change to Senate rules so such voting legislation can advance with a simple majority of 51 votes. But Manchin, along with a handful of other Democrats, has long opposed such a carveout, worrying it would lead to a slippery slope and ultimately kill a tool meant to protect the minority party’s rights.
“The filibuster is permanent,” Manchin said Monday.
Asked how he plans to get the bill passed given that he won’t change Senate filibuster rules, Manchin told CNN on Tuesday that his plan is this: “It’s to get 10 Republicans” in the 50-50 Senate.
“I’m talking to reasonable Republicans and friends of mine who understand we need guardrails,” Manchin said.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.