Sen. Angus King (I-ME) on Sunday said that although he is “very reluctant” to nuke the filibuster, he is willing to nix the legislative procedure to pass voting rights legislation.
Asked about Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) opposition to the House-passed For the People Act and whether he supports the sweeping voting rights legislation as written, King said he does not because there are provisions he believes can be modified.
“It’s a 800- or 900- or 1,000-page bill. There are clearly some things I think need to be negotiated,” King said. “And I think Joe Manchin realizes that.”
After stressing that the “guts” of the bill is voting rights, King expanded on his issues with the For the People Act, which proposes major election reforms that lower barriers to voting.
“There are two things going on with voting rights. One is getting a lot of publicity, the other not so much. The publicity is about things like limiting absentee ballots and the early voting and all of those kinds of things,” King said.
“The other piece, though, that isn’t being talked about is, a lot of states are considering changes that the legislature could essentially overturn the results of an election in their state,” King added.
Citing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s (R) refusal to buy into baseless allegations of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, King said that he is concerned about how GOP-led legislatures would take advantage if the sweeping voting rights bill is passed without any modifications.
“I’m worried that they’re going to turn that over and say, OK, a Republican legislature can say, we think there was fraud in Fulton County, and, therefore, we’re going to certify a different set of electors,” King said. “That’s really dangerous.”
Pressed on whether he would be ready to eliminate the filibuster, King replied that he is “very reluctant” to do so, but would come around to it when it comes to voting rights legislation.
“But if it comes down to voting rights and the rights of Americans to go to the polls and select their leaders versus the filibuster, I will choose democracy,” King said.
The remarks from King, who caucuses with Democrats, come amid Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) opposition to eliminating or reforming the filibuster to push the Biden administration’s legislative agenda through he Senate.
Manchin reaffirmed his commitment to preserving the filibuster in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday that declared his opposition to the For the People Act that his Democratic colleagues are trying to push through the Senate.
“I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin wrote. “For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.”
Watch King’s remarks below:
Sen. Angus King says he is "reluctant" to get rid of the filibuster, adding that, "If it comes down to voting rights and the rights of Americans to go to the polls and select their leaders versus the filibuster, I'll choose democracy" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/joRmlSlEpb
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 6, 2021