Schumer to force vote on sweeping election overhaul next month
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday he is planning to force a vote next month on a sweeping bill to overhaul elections, setting the stage for a high-profile clash over the filibuster.
In a letter to the Democratic caucus, Schumer said he would bring the For the People Act, also known as S. 1 and H.R. 1, to the floor in June. Though he’s previously said it would get a vote before the August recess, Friday marks the first time he’s tied it to a hard timeline.
“In the last week of the June work period, the Senate will vote on S.1, the For the People Act, legislation that is essential to defending our democracy, reducing the influence of dark money and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression happening in the states across the country in service of President Trump’s Big Lie,” Schumer wrote.
Schumer told reporters it would come up the week of June 21. The June work period runs through June 25.
The Senate Rules Committee earlier this month deadlocked on the bill in an hours-long, heated markup, with Republicans unanimously voting against the legislation.
The bill is a top priority for Democrats, who have characterized it as necessary to bolster democracy as GOP state legislators across the country propose new voting restrictions in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, which former President Trump has falsely claimed was stolen from him. Republicans view the legislation as a federal takeover of elections.
The bill, which passed the House without any GOP support, requires states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting, while calling for online and same-day voter registration. The measure also calls for the creation of independent commissions to draw congressional districts in an effort to put an end to partisan gerrymandering.
The late June vote is guaranteed to set up a fight on the Senate floor with Republicans over both the bill and the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance most measures. No GOP senators have voiced support for the bill, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who opposes eliminating the filibuster, has also been critical of it.
The measure is one of several bills Schumer is seeking to bring up next month that will likely force a broader debate on the filibuster, with progressives putting ever-increasing pressure on Democrats to use their majority and nix the 60-vote threshold.
“The June work period will be extremely challenging. I want to be clear that the next few weeks will be hard and will test our resolve as a Congress and a conference,” Schumer wrote in Friday’s letter.
In addition to the For the People Act, Schumer said he would bring up a paycheck fairness bill that Republicans filibustered during the Obama administration.
Schumer is also looking to bring up a House-passed LGBTQ equality bill and a gun reform measure, as negotiations between Republicans and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have been slow going.
“Bipartisan talks on background checks continue. But frankly, it’s a little nuts that we need to be negotiating on a proposal that is supported by 90% of the American public. I’m open to a compromise, but it’s got to be good enough to save lives,” Murphy tweeted on Thursday.
Updated at 1:23 p.m.
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