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Schumer: Senate deadline for voting rights bill 'probably by August or so'

Schumer: Senate deadline for voting rights bill 'probably by August or so'
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerHeatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change Schumer backing plan to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that the deadline for passing major election reform legislation "probably by August."

In an interview on "The Mehdi Hasan Show” set to broadcast on Sunday night, host Mehdi Hasan asked Schumer about the timeline for passing the For the People Act  – known as both H.R.1 and S.1 for being the first bill introduced this session in both the House and Senate – noting that Schumer's position as Senate majority leader is threatened by the loss of a single Democratic senator.

"I agree we have to move quickly," Schumer says. "I would say that the deadline for S.1 is a little longer than you say. But it’s probably by August or so. We’re consulting the experts, when is the latest that S.1 can undo some of the despicable and frankly racist changes that these Republican legislatures have made or trying to make in the way people vote."

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The New York senator said Democrats needed to remain unified to pass the bills they supported in a 50-50 Senate.

"By definition, we need all 50. We’re working hard to obtain that unity. We’ve attained it on everything so far. On the major issues, when we have the minority, the three biggest issues were NCA, the horrible tax cuts of Trump and the impeachment, we were 100 percent united. On the three biggest issues so far here, the president’s cabinet with one exception which I regret, but everything else, with the impeachment trial and with ARP, we were united," Schumer said.

"The problem is the Republican Senators and House members are so in the thrall of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE who controls their party in the primaries, that there’s a real dichotomy, but it’s a dichotomy that we can explode," Schumer said, noting that a majority of Republican voters have signaled some support for Democrat-led bills.

Support for election reform has grown among groups who are speaking out against GOP-led legislation in state governments that has been criticized for limiting voter access and disproportionately affecting voters of color. Recently passed legislation in Georgia that limited ballot drop boxes and shortened absentee voting led to many companies to speak out against the bill and the MLB to move its 2021 All-Star Game out of the Peach State.

The For the People Act was passed by the House in March. The legislation would require all states to offer mail-in ballots and provide a minimum of 15 days of early voting and calls for online and same-day voter registration. The measure would also call for the creation of an independent commission to draw congressional districts in order to prevent gerrymandering.

It would also allocate funds to protect against foreign threats to elections, enable automatic voter registration and make Election Day a federal holiday for federal workers.