Schumer to force vote Tuesday on sweeping election bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will force a vote Tuesday on a sweeping bill to overhaul federal elections.

Schumer informed his caucus of the schedule during a closed-door meeting on Thursday, a Senate Democratic source familiar with the meeting told The Hill.

The bill, known as the For the People Act, is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster and advance past a first procedural hurdle.

But Democrats are scrambling to try to figure out a way to unify their 50-member caucus, which would at least allow them to keep the spotlight on Republican opposition instead of their own internal divisions.

Democrats met on Thursday to talk strategy before leaving town for the week.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said he opposes the For the People Act, making him the lone Democratic wildcard heading into Tuesday’s vote. 

He outlined what he supports, and doesn’t support, in the bill during a list circulated recently to his colleagues and shared with reporters this week. He also briefed Democrats during Thursday’s meeting, joking with reporters that he “spoke a lot.” 

“It was a very good constructive dialogue,” Manchin said, adding that his colleagues were “very receptive” to his ideas. 

Manchin declined to say after the meeting how he will vote next Tuesday. 

Manchin has outlined roughly two dozen ideas that garnered his approval including making election day a public holiday, mandating at least 15 consecutive days for early voting in federal elections, banning gerrymandering and automatic voter registration through the DMV. 

Manchin also, according to a version of the list obtained by The Hill, backs tighter campaign finance requirements currently in the For the People Act including requiring online and digital ads to disclose their source similar to TV and radio ads, tighter ethics requirements for presidents and vice presidents and requiring campaigns and committees to report foreign contacts.

But he leaves out some of the more controversial ideas of the roughly 800-page For the People Act, including public financing of campaigns. He also doesn’t go as far on absentee voting and includes voter ID, though individuals could use a utility bill as an alternative.

But Manchin’s willingness to come to the table has Democrats feeling increasingly optimistic about their ability to unify during next week’s vote.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) declined to say whether he thought Democrats would get 50 votes but said he was more “optimistic” about next week’s vote.

“We’re all constructively engaged on the substance. It was a serious and constructive conversation,” Schatz said. 

Updated at 2:49 p.m. 

Tags Brian Schatz Charles Schumer democratic caucus For the People Act Joe Manchin Senate voting right
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