Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday declared that the new voting rights bill Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is set to bring to the floor next week is “going nowhere.”
In his statement, McConnell accused Schumer of wanting to “stage another political stunt” by painting the majority leader’s plans to file cloture on the Freedom to Vote Act on Monday as another “partisan power grab.”
“Democrats call this latest repackaging a ‘compromise,’ but it’s only a compromise among themselves,” McConnell said. “It is not a compromise for the left and the far left to discuss how much power they should grab.”
McConnell concluded his statement by signaling that Senate Republicans have no interest in helping Democrats pass the bill.
“As we have shown in the recent past, the Senate is fully capable of making law in this area when actual issues need actual solutions and actual bipartisan work occurs,” McConnell said. “By contrast, there is nothing necessary or bipartisan about this naked power grab, so it will continue to go nowhere.”
Earlier Thursday, Schumer announced in a letter to members that the chamber will vote on the Freedom to Vote Act next week, after he files cloture to set it in motion on Monday, which sets up a vote to defeat a Republican filibuster on Wednesday. The new voting rights bill is the newest iteration of the For the People Act — which Senate Republicans filibustered in June — that was modified to get filibuster-loyalist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on board.
Since the Freedom to Vote Act’s introduction in mid-September, Manchin has claimed, without evidence, that there are 10 Republicans who will help Democrats defeat the filibuster. Despite Manchin’s claim, Republicans generally have not shown support for Democratic proposals. Only Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has shown interest in any of Democrats’ voting rights bills with her endorsement of the John Lewis Voting Act.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told MSNBC on Thursday that although he hopes Manchin will follow through on his promise to bring along 10 Republicans to allow debate on the bill to go forward, the Senate will likely need to do away with the filibuster for it to pass.
“If he doesn’t, we’re going to have to get around this filibuster,” Clyburn said. “I hope this will demonstrate to Sen. Manchin the need to do so. I can’t imagine that he will allow a filibuster to stop the Black folks in his state and other states from exercising their right to vote.”
Clyburn, however, expressed doubts that Manchin will whip the vote before it heads to the Senate and argued that the centrist senator will likely have to come around to a filibuster carveout to push the new voting rights bill forward.
“Do I trust it? I don’t think so. I’m hopeful, but I don’t think he will. I think he’s going to have to relent on the filibuster,” Clyburn said. “Nobody’s asking him to give up the filibuster. We’re saying treat the voting rights and constitutional rights when it comes to the filibuster the same way you treat the budget.”
Read McConnell’s statement below: