Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring a cloture vote on the voting rights and election reforms bill on Tuesday of next week, he told reporters Thursday. Senate Democrats met Thursday to discuss strategy and hear out Sen. Joe Manchin on the changes he wants to see in the sweeping reform bill.
Manchin is the only Democrat who opposes the bill. He told reporters after the meeting that “he spoke a lot,” so it must have been a success in his eyes.”It was a very good constructive dialogue,” Manchin said, adding that his colleagues were “very receptive” to his ideas. Senate Democrats are cautiously optimistic about these developments. “We’re all constructively engaged on the substance. It was a serious and constructive conversation,” progressive Sen. Brian Schatz, from Hawaii, said. Manchin’s willingness to talk it out and work constructively has made him more “optimistic.”
— U.S. Senate Majority Floor Updates (@DSenFloor) June 17, 2021
That’s all well and good, but as long as Manchin, Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, and recently, Californian Dianne Feinstein are opposed to filibuster reform, that optimism gets them nuthin.’ That’s because Mitch McConnell has declared war on the bill, and his troops are falling in line.
McConnell held a press conference Thursday, declaring Manchin’s proposal “equally unacceptable” to the original For the People Act and “totally inappropriate.” Flanked by a number of fellow Republicans, he promised total opposition from his side. “All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well if that were to be surfaced on the floor,” he said of Manchin’s proposal. “That’s not what we anticipate the cloture motion to be on.”
Manchin’s “10 good people” on the Republican side are failing to materialize on this bill. They’re all siding with McConnell, including “moderate” Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah). To Schumer’s suggesting that the bill would be amended to include Manchin’s changes on the floor, Romney said that strategy “doesn’t make a lot of sense to me” and he won’t support it. Murkowski said “Joe hasn’t briefed me on any of this,” so she’ll probably join the filibuster.
Then there’s Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who praised Manchin last week for “saving our country” by working with Republicans. This bill, even with Manchin’s changes, “needs to be blocked,” he said. “I’m not optimistic that they could make enough changes to that to make it a fair bill. It would usurp the rights of the states.”
Then there’s Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who Manchin thought could be pressured to work with Democrats on things like the Jan. 6 commission. He told a group of major donors on a private call Monday, obtained by The Intercept, that “Roy is retiring. If some of you all who might be working with Roy in his next life could tell him, that’d be nice and it’d help our country. That would be very good to get him to change his vote.”
Maybe Blunt heard about that, because when it comes to voting rights, he’s pulling out all the racist and misogynistic stops, just so everyone knows where he really stands. Blunt said Thursday that when “Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Manchin’s proposal, it became the Stacey Abram’s substitute, not the Joe Manchin substitute.”
Manchin is getting to see very clearly, where his friends truly are in the Senate on this.
Amy Klobuchar and Warnock both spoke positively about Manchin’s proposal to the caucus. “The atmosphere in there was nothing” but positive, Klobuchar said, adding that they are still negotiating on some of Manchin’s provisions, including voter ID.
Manchin says he “spoke a lot”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 17, 2021
Whether that changes his mind on the filibuster, well that remains to be determined. But it can’t hurt the cause.
A lifelong Blue girl in a Red state, I’m now Senior Political Writer for Daily Kos. On any given day, I’d rather be horseback, but there’s more demand for political writers than cowgirls.