Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked the advancement of a major voting rights bill Tuesday.
The Senate's top Democrat, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, set a procedural vote for the For the People Act, but with 60 votes required to advance the bill for debate and Republicans opposing the measure in the evenly split 100-member chamber, the bill stalled.
Lindsey Graham, a prominent South Carolina Republican, called the measure "an insane idea" in a statement released shortly after he voted no.
"Simply put, this is the biggest power-grab in modern American history. S.1 has nothing to do with making voting easier — it has everything to do with skewing the system in a fashion to benefit the liberal agenda," Graham said.
Simply put, this is the biggest power-grab in modern American history. S.1 has nothing to do with making voting easier – it has everything to do with skewing the system in a fashion to benefit the liberal agenda. I enthusiastically voted no.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 22, 2021
Democrats plan to push for a revised version, led by Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democratic centrist who had announced his opposition to the legislation approved by the House of Representatives. His proposed changes include adding a national voter ID requirement and cutting a public campaign financing provision from the original version.
“I’ve found common ground with my Democratic colleagues on a new version of the bill that ensures that our elections are fair, accessible and secure,” Manchin said.
But his changes to the measure have drawn no Republican support.
The Democratic push for election reform comes as Republican-controlled legislatures in many states enact new restrictions following the 2020 election that saw former president Donald Trump repeatedly make false claims of election fraud.
The original Senate bill, which passed the Democrat-majority House in March, would make it easier for people to register to vote, require states to hold at least 15 days of early voting, allow people to cast absentee ballots without giving a reason, and put the redrawing of congressional districts in the hands of nonpartisan commissions and not state legislatures.
Schumer said that voting rights are “under assault from one end of the country to the other,” and that the Republican-led efforts in the various states are an attempt to give Republicans “a partisan advantage at the polls by making it harder for Democratic-leaning voters to vote.”