A key senator stated Sunday that congressional Democrats are looking at ways to provide financial incentives to states for expanding voting access as part a huge infrastructure bill.
Democrats are having difficulty getting their marquee reform bill passed by an evenly divided Senate. Republicans remain united in opposition. Rules require 60 votes to pass most pieces of legislation.
Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, a Democrat, chairs the powerful Senate Rules Committee. She stated in an interview that the priority is still passing the For the People Act legislation, which would establish minimum voting standards in the United States, such as automatic and same day voter registration and early voting.
Klobuchar pointed out that Democrats could also use reconciliation to provide financial incentives to states for certain reforms. The nation’s critical infrastructure has been designated for election systems.
Klobuchar stated that election infrastructure can be done in the area because it is infrastructure. It’s not a substitute for the For the People Act but it is something that we can immediately start working on and are currently working on.
Pushing election-related measures in the infrastructure bill is a risky move with no guarantee of success.
Certain measures regarding revenue, spending, and debt can be approved under the congressional budget process with a threshold of 51 votes. This is why Democrats are pushing for it. This allows them to bypass the nearly certain filibuster by Republicans.
There’s one catch. The nonpartisan senator can remove any provision that is not directly related to the budget or items whose impact on the budget is “merely incidental” to their policy changes.
The infrastructure bill would not be enough to achieve the Democrats’ goal of federal standards, but it could encourage some states to take that step.
“Money with incentives is a good idea. It has worked before. Let’s see if we can get approvals,” Klobuchar stated. But again, this is just a part. It’s only a part of the whole. It’s an important tool that you shouldn’t lose.”
The President Joe Biden’s large infrastructure proposals are being pushed through Congress on different tracks, each possibly complementing or torpedoing another. A bipartisan group made public a $1 trillion package for traditional infrastructure, including roads, bridges, broadband, and climate change investments. Biden’s other ideas are being incorporated into a multitrillion dollar package that Democrats can approve on their own.
Republicans have unified their opposition to the larger infrastructure package as well as the election bill. They claim the former is a Democratic power grab that amounts a federal takeover election administration at both the state and local level.
Republicans blocked a bill debate last month. Democrats will now have to decide if they want to amend Senate rules in order to pass the bill. Two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Silena from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia, said they opposed the elimination of filibuster rules.
Klobuchar visited Georgia in advance of a rare field hearing by the Senate Rules Committee. This hearing will take place Monday at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. This hearing is part of Klobuchar’s ongoing push to pass his election bill with fellow Democrats. Federal voting standards are required to combat a series of new laws that have been enacted by GOP legislators in several states, including Georgia.
Stacey Abrams, a voting rights advocate, was also present during her visit. They were to meet at a suburban Atlanta polling station, where early voters had to wait in long lines last year.
Georgia Republicans have resisted claims that their bill, SB 202, suppresses voter turnout. They point out that the state provides many of the provisions Democrats seek in the federal bill.
Republican Gov.’s campaign spokesperson. Brian Kemp, who is running for reelection next spring, described Sunday’s event as “nothing but political theatre”.
“Democrats are now using one P.R. after failing to pass an unconstitutional federal overthrow of Washington elections. Kemp spokesperson Tate Mitchell said that Democrats are now using one P.R. to gain support for their far-left, unpopular agenda. “SB 202 was the first to enact common-sense electoral reforms in the country, and an honest glance at the bill reveals this.”
Although some controversial parts of the Georgia bill were dropped during the legislative process it is noteworthy in its scope and the new expanded powers that the state has over local elections offices.
The bill adds a voter identification requirement to mail ballots. It also reduces the time required to request a mailed vote. There are fewer drop boxes in the metro Atlanta area and prohibits food and water distribution to voters waiting to cast their ballot. The law has been the subject of several lawsuits, one of which was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.