WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- On Wednesday, the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders clashed during a Senate session about the proposed election reform that would fight voter suppression.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) was pushing for the bill as Democrats wished to expand voting privileges across all Americans.
- The measure would need support from at least 10 GOPs in order to get past the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) had a debate during a Wednesday Senate Rules Committee hearing on proposed election reform.
As President Joe Biden and Democrats pushed for the expansion of voting rights, they argued that the For the People Act (known as S.1) would enable Americans to have easier access to voter registration and voting per se, avoid gerrymandering, boost election cybersecurity, and amend campaign expenditures, among many other things that would ultimately fight voting suppression.
“I would like to ask my Republican colleagues, why are you so afraid of democracy? Why, instead of trying to win voters over that you lost in the last election, are you trying to prevent them from voting?” Schumer asked, adding, “Shame, shame, shame.”
McConnell rebutted, “Talk about shame. If anybody ought to be feeling any shame around here, it’s turning the FEC into a partisan prosecutor. The majority controlled by the president’s party to harass and intimidate the other side — that’s what you ought to be ashamed about.”
The Democrats’ measure aims to reverse GOP-mandated voter restrictions implemented nationwide across the states.
Based on a Democratic explanation of the bill, the measure also seeks to amend the Federal Election Commission with five commissioners, minus one member from the present lineup of six “in order to break the gridlock.”
Currently, the commission is composed of three GOPs, two Democrats, and one independent.
McConnell added that S.1 would yield an “implementation nightmare” for election authorities.
“This is nowhere near ready for prime time. It’s an invitation to total chaos,” the Kentucky lawmaker said.
The Democrat-supported bill would require at least 10 GOP votes in order to get passed through the Senate.
For its part, the House proposed its own legislation of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) on March 3. House Democrats unitedly voted in favor of the bill while all their Republican counterparts voted against it.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO.) described the proposal as a “federal takeover” of the electoral proceedings.