Manchin, Schumer strike deal ahead of election bill vote
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that he will vote in favor of advancing a sweeping election bill after striking a deal with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on a compromise proposal.
Schumer, speaking to reporters after a closed-door caucus lunch, announced that he and Manchin had reached an agreement that will allow Democrats to be unified in support of advancing the For the People Act as it faces a 60-vote procedural hurdle.
“I’m pleased to report that Sen. Manchin and I have come to an agreement. He came to my office, oh, about two hours ago, and we worked it out,” Schumer told reporters.
Under the deal, Manchin will provide a 50th Democratic vote on advancing the For the People Act, though it will still fail to overcome Tuesday’s procedural hurdle because of a GOP filibuster that requires 60 votes. But being unified, Democrats hope, will keep the focus on GOP opposition to the bill.
Schumer said that if Democrats were able to start debate on the bill, something they won’t be able to do because of across-the-board Republican opposition, he would give Manchin a vote on his proposal as a substitute amendment in exchange for voting “yes” on Tuesday. It would be the first amendment considered.
“Over the past month, I have worked to eliminate the far reaching provisions of S.1, the For the People Act – which I do not support. I’ve found common ground with my Democratic colleagues on a new version of the bill that ensures our elections are fair, accessible and secure,” Manchin said in a statement.
“Today I will vote ‘YES’ to move to debate this updated voting legislation as a substitute amendment to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and participate in our great democracy,” he added.
The For the People Act is a sweeping bill that would not only set national voting standards but also change the composition of the Federal Election Commission, add new restrictions on congressional redistricting, overhaul campaign finance, and include new ethics rules for the president and vice president.
Manchin has said he can’t support the bill as it was introduced. Instead, he circulated a list of what he can and cannot support. He said he supports making Election Day a public holiday, mandating at least 15 consecutive days for early voting in federal elections, banning gerrymandering and setting up voter registration through state motor vehicle departments.
Manchin is also ready to back tighter campaign finance requirements currently in the For the People Act, including requiring online and digital ads to disclose their sources, similar to TV and radio ads, imposing tighter ethics requirements for presidents and vice presidents, and requiring campaigns and committees to report foreign contacts.
But he’s also recommending jettisoning one of the more controversial parts of the bill — public financing of campaigns. While he supports absentee voting, he doesn’t endorse no-excuse absentee voting, and, in a move likely to upset some Democrats, Manchin is proposing voter ID requirements with the possibility of alternatives such as a utility bill to provide proof of identity in order to vote.
Updated at 2:52 p.m.