Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate
Vice President Harris will preside over the Senate when the chamber votes Tuesday on whether to proceed with a sweeping voting rights bill that is guaranteed to fail to advance, a White House official said.
The Senate will vote Tuesday night on the For the People Act, which would overhaul federal elections and comes as GOP-led state legislatures have passed new laws that make it more difficult for certain groups to vote.
The legislation on Tuesday is guaranteed to fail to get the 60 votes needed to advance past a GOP filibuster, with Republicans united in opposition. Democrats have turned their attention to securing the support of all 50 members of their conference in hopes that it showcases how Republicans are standing in the way of voting rights.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), their final holdout, said Tuesday that he will vote in favor of advancing the measure.
It will mark the first time Harris has presided over the Senate outside of casting a tie-breaking vote, and her presence is a symbolic move to underscore the White House’s focus on voting rights.
President Biden earlier this month tasked Harris, at her request, with leading efforts to protect and strengthen voting rights. She spoke over the weekend with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to discuss the path forward on voting rights.
The For the People Act would require states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting while calling for online and same-day voter registration. It also overhauls campaign finance rules, changes the makeup of the Federal Election Commission, imposes new ethics rules for public officials and establishes new requirements on congressional redistricting.
But with the For the People Act facing a dead end in the Senate, Harris is likely to focus her attention outside of Congress to drum up awareness and support for voting rights.
Harris will meet in the coming weeks with voting rights advocates, business leaders and lawmakers and publicly make the case against restrictive voting measures being debated and passed in states like Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona, a White House official said.
Jordain Carney contributed.