The latest package is intended to replace a sweeping bill that included a host of provisions on ethics and campaign finance that would have completely overhauled the way candidates and office holders can raise and spend money. money, as well as the much-discussed electoral arrangements. The House and Senate designated the original bill HR 1 and S. 1, respectively, to mark its importance to Democratic leadership.
The new version of the Election and Ethics Reform Bill includes standards for states that require voter identification. In addition, lawmakers added a provision to protect the certification of election results and the independence of local officials. The legislation would also establish state grants that would be used to administer elections and provide public funding for House races.
The compromise bill retains a provision from the original version that would force more politically active groups to disclose their donors.
Democrats argue the legislation is needed to fight laws in Republican-led states like Texas and Georgia that have added voting restrictions.
While all 50 Senate Democrats are on board, the legislation has no support from Senate Republicans, making final passage impossible without changing upper house rules. Senate Republicans used filibuster to block HR 1, which had already passed the House in March, and argued the legislation amounted to a federal takeover of the election. Key centrist Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), meanwhile, had previously called the legislation too broad.
The latest Election Reform and Ethics Bill is the result of months of negotiations between Klobuchar, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as members of the Democratic Sens caucus. Raphael Warnock from Georgia, Tim Kaine from Virginia, Angus King from Maine, Jeff Merkley from Oregon, Alex Padilla from California and Jon Tester from Montana.
But without the backing of 10 Senate Republicans, Klobuchar’s legislation will almost certainly suffer the same fate as the original package: obstruction. Civil rights leaders have long warned that Senate Democrats must make a choice between protecting voting rights and filibustering, and they have urged the caucus to at least provide an exception to the rules in voting rights legislation.
But Democratic senators like Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) have repeatedly said they have no interest in removing filibuster, even if only for voting rights legislation. Some HR 1 supporters have privately hoped that the impending obstruction of the electoral and ethics reform package will highlight Republicans blocking legislation and cause Manchin and others to reconsider their position on Senate rules.
Schumer did not get his hands on the rule changes. But the New York Democrat vowed “failure is not an option.”
“Be clear, Republicans refusing to support anything on voting rights is no excuse for Democrats to do nothing,” Schumer said Monday.