After months of debate and delays on the fundamental issue of voting rights in the United States, it appears that Congressional Democrats finally have a bill that has the blessing of hesitant senators such as Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ).
The New York Times reports that top Democratic leaders will meet today to discuss the legislation:
“President Biden and the top Democrats in Congress are expected to meet at the White House on Friday to discuss their party’s faltering efforts to pass major voting rights legislation, according to two congressional aides familiar with the plans.”
The new voting rights bill, according to the Times, would eliminate the specter of a filibuster:
“Democrats are close to finalizing a scaled-back bill that activists hope could be a battering ram in the fight over the filibuster. The party is also readying legislation to reinforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and lawmakers have discussed tucking voting provisions into the $3.5 trillion budget plan advancing in the Senate, which they can push through unilaterally over the opposition of Republicans. But the G.O.P. is largely opposed to all three.”
The new legislation includes 15 days of early voting, ends gerrymandering of congressional districts, expands mail voting, and has a voter ID provision. It would also require that super PACs disclose who their donors are and would effectively neutralize Republican voter suppression laws that have been passed in states such as Georgia and Florida.
It also appears likely that the voting rights legislation will be included in the upcoming $3.5 billion infrastructure bill that will be passed using budget reconciliation, meaning Democrats would only need all 50 votes from their senators. The deciding vote would then be cast by Vice President Kamala Harris in her role as president of the Senate.
Democrats are not giving up on voting rights, and given the fact that Republicans seem intent on cheating in order to win elections, the passage of a voting rights bill is more critical than ever.