Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) on Sunday attempted to paint Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act — which is the latest version of the For the People Act that was modified to get pro-filibuster Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on board, but garnered no bipartisan support last week — as a bill that the centrist senator wasn’t fully supportive of in the first place, despite the centrist senator working with other key Senate Democrats on it.
During an interview on MSNBC, Blunt was pressed on the GOP’s filibuster of Democrats’ latest voting rights bill last week, despite his support for re-enacting it in 2006 when he served in the House.
After Blunt tried arguing that the voting rights bill hasn’t been repealed, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell pointed out that the legislation was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Blunt didn’t push back, but argued that there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to running elections in jurisdictions throughout the country.
“I was both the local election official and the chief election official for our state for a combined total of about 20 years,” Blunt said. “There are 10,000 election jurisdictions out there in America. The federal government deciding how elections should be run in all 10,000 of those jurisdictions is a bad idea.”
Blunt then said that he doesn’t think Manchin fully supported the Freedom to Vote Act — despite how it was negotiated by a group of Senate Democrats, including Manchin, whose vow to bring along 10 Republicans to allow debate on the bill to go forward proved fruitless.
“I don’t think Senator Manchin was surely fully on board with the supposed compromise. It was a compromise between the left and the far left … I like Joe Manchin, but I’m not driven by the Joe Manchin standard of whether something’s a good deal or not,” Blunt said. “This was clearly a federal takeover of elections. It was not doing things around the edges of elections that direct the country in a more significant way. And I’m opposed to it. There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.”
Prior to the GOP’s filibuster of Democrats’ latest voting rights bill, Manchin had claimed since the Freedom to Vote Act’s introduction in mid-September that there are 10 Republicans who will help Democrats defeat the filibuster. The bill ultimately failed in a 49-51 vote to proceed to a debate on the bill, with no GOP support and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) vote against proceeding with the bill at the last minute in order to file a motion to reconsider it later.
Democrats have since turned to reviving the filibuster debate. Last week, President Biden suggested he might be open to eliminating the filibuster entirely, saying that it’s time to “fundamentally alter the filibuster” after the GOP’s latest filibuster. The President added that potential changes to the filibuster could be extended to “maybe more” of his policy proposals outside of voting rights.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday appeared open to reforming the filibuster to protect voting rights.
“The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy,” Pelosi told CNN. “If there were one vote that (reforming) the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote.”
Watch Blunt’s remarks below: