Report: GOP Interest Groups Fret Over HR1’s Popularity With Their Own Constituents

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens as Republican leaders talk to the media after their weekly lunch at the U.S. Capitol on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tas... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens as Republican leaders talk to the media after their weekly lunch at the U.S. Capitol on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 29, 2021 5:15 p.m.

Republicans are concerned about the bipartisan popularity of the campaign finance provisions of HR1, the voting rights package recently passed by the House.

According to the New Yorker, which obtained a recording of a private meeting between a policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and leaders of many conservative groups, public messaging against those provisions is not going well.

Specifically, support for the bill’s measures forcing more disclosures of secret donors was so broad that a senior operative from the Koch network advised just killing it in Congress rather than trying to turn the tide of public opinion. Currently, S1, HR1’s Senate complement, would face the 60-vote threshold of the filibuster and seems unlikely to garner Republican support.

Kyle McKenzie, the research director for the Koch-run advocacy group Stand Together, reportedly said during the meeting that people found the argument that the bill would stop billionaires from buying elections extremely compelling.

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“Unfortunately, we’ve found that that is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives,” he reportedly said.

Democrats’ interest in passing HR1 has grown alongside the nationwide push from Republican statehouses to pass restrictive voting laws. A bill out of Georgia that Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed late last week has engendered particular outrage as well as a couple of lawsuits.

Some, like Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), are using the voter suppression to frame an argument for doing away with the filibuster, or at least making it easier to overcome. Warnock has been pitching it to President Joe Biden as a decision between protecting people’s right to vote, or protecting a Senate procedure.

“You had legislators who are running scared. So rather than having the people select their politician, the politicians try to cherry pick their voters,” Warnock said on CNN this weekend. “This is an assault on the covenant we have with one another as an American people and it is my job to protect it.”

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