McConnell: Manchin’s Election Reform Proposal Still ‘Rotten To The Core’

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
June 18, 2021Updated: June 18, 2021

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday said he believes all Republicans will oppose Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) “compromise” on the Democratic party’s election-related bill that has been dubbed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats as the “For the People Act.”

McConnell in a statement pushed back against Manchin’s slimmed-down elections compromise, saying that it still retains the partisan bill’s “rotten core.”

The West Virginia senator’s version of S.1, the “For The People Act,” is still “an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections,” McConnell said.

Manchin put forward his own version of the bill after initially saying that he wouldn’t support the Democrat-backed proposal, which was passed by the House along party lines in March.

Republicans and conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation oppose the bill, which allows for public subsidies to grassroots campaign, small-dollar donations. Democrats, meanwhile, say the bill will limit gerrymandering, change campaign finance rules, and create new ethics rules for some federal officials.

McConnell described the measure as a “one-sided power grab” by Democrats now that they’re in government when it was first introduced in 2019.

Manchin said the bill as it was introduced was too broad and had no change of receiving bipartisan support.

On Wednesday, he released a list of the voting reforms he does support, including a nationwide voter ID law, and allowing states in participate in “maintenance of voter rolls,” which would allow a purging of names from a state’s registered voters list using state and federal documents.

His pitch would also mandate at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections and ban partisan gerrymandering. Manchin included some proposals from the original bill, such as tighter ethics and campaign rules largely rejected by Republican lawmakers.

“Congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward, or we risk further dividing and destroying the Republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials,” Manchin wrote in a memo detailing the provisions.

“Senate Democrats seem to have reached a so-called ‘compromise’ election takeover among themselves,” McConnell said in his statement, responding to Manchin’s version. “In reality, the plan endorsed by Stacey Abrams is no compromise.”

“It still subverts the First Amendment to supercharge cancel culture and the left’s name-and-shame campaign model,” he added. “It takes redistricting away from state legislatures and hands it over to computers.”

Manchin said in a statement to reporters: “McConnell has the right to do whatever he thinks he can do. I would hope there’s enough good Republicans that understand the bedrock of our society is having accessible, open, fair and secure elections.”

“I’ve been working across the aisle with all the Republicans trying to get people to understand that that’s the bedrock of our democracy, and accessible, fair and basically secured voting,” Manchin said.

Meanwhile, Manchin has vowed to oppose legislation that would abolish the filibuster, which allows the minority party in the Senate to block legislation. To overcome any GOP filibuster, Democrats need to get 60 votes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), however, has said that he is still pushing to bring the bill to the Senate floor at the end of the month, despite poor chances of the legislation passing.

Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.