Schumer shoots down Manchin voting rights strategy

Schumer shoots down Manchin voting rights strategy
Sen. Chuck Schumer in Oct. 2020, Wikimedia Commons

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is not interested in hearing Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) voting rights strategy which emphasizes the need to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act instead of prioritizing the "For the People Act," the Intercept reports.

The "For the People Act" would incorporate sweeping legislation for changes to election and campaign finance laws. It would also aim to reestablish the U.S. Justice Department's oversight of the voting laws, which supporters argue would prove beneficial in states with a history of voter suppression.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Schumer was asked about Manchin's strategy as he made his disdain of it quite clear. "Here's the bottom line: … The Voting Rights Act is actually authorized until 2032, so their letter to us saying authorize it, well, it's pretty much done," Schumer said to reporters.

Lawmakers' decision to revisit voting rights comes years after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in which Chief Justice John Roberts stuck down preclearance. That decision opened the door for states to incorporate more restrictive voter suppression laws with little oversight from the federal government. Over the years, Republican lawmakers have worked tirelessly to further restrict voting rights.

In a letter written on Monday, Manchin and Murkowski acknowledged the problem, but the Intercept notes that their solution to the problem falls short.

"This decision effectively gutted one of the federal government's most effective tools to preserve confidence in our nation's elections, and we are seeing the results manifest themselves in state legislatures across the country," Manchin and Murkowski wrote.

Other Democratic lawmakers also expressed concern about Manchin and Murkowski focusing on the Voting Rights Act.

"It's not sufficient to do anything about the attacks that are underway right now by state legislatures," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) argued.

He also said, "the caucus heard from Democrats representing places like Georgia, Montana, and Wisconsin, where Republicans are looking to enact laws to preserve 'election integrity.'" According to Murphy, that categorization is "'bulls--t' that stood in for an approach that amounted to stacking the deck."

Murphy added, "They'd much rather have a group of elite, corporate billionaire-friendly folks running the government."

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