Senate Republicans Thursday said that they have no intention of supporting Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal for elections legislation, which was intended to be a possible bipartisan compromise in lieu of Democrats’ controversial elections proposal S.1.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Thursday that he hopes “all Republicans” will oppose the proposal from Manchin, the senior senator from West Virginia, at a press conference that was designed to show Republican unity against S.1.
“It still turns the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from a judge into a prosecutor by taking away the three-three balance and making it 3-2 Democratic,” McConnell said.
McConnell was referencing an element of S.1 that would change the FEC from a body with six members, three from each party, to a body with two members from each party and a third nonpartisan individual appointed by the president. Republicans say the fact that President Biden would appoint the nonpartisan individual defeats the purpose.
It would also, McConnell said, “remove redistricting from state legislatures and hand it over to computers. Equally unacceptable. Totally inappropriate.”
He called that provision “extraordinarily dubious” constitutionally.
“All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well, if that were to be surfaced on the floor,” McConnell said, referencing the fact that it’s been endorsed by Stacey Abrams.
Missouri’s Sen. Roy Blunt also slammed the Manchin proposal over the fact it is supported by Abrams.
“I think every one of us looks for opportunities to work with Sen. Manchin and we’ve found those opportunities,” he said. “I actually think when Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Sen. Manchin’s proposal it became the Stacey Abrams substitute, not the Joe Manchin substitute.”
Manchin’s bill would, among other things, require at least 15 days of early voting; require states to use voter ID; make it easier for states to maintain their voter rolls; implement automatic registration through state DMVs and more.
Asked earlier Thursday if some Republicans could get on board with his proposal, Manchin replied, “I hope.”
The moderate Democrat senator did acknowledge that it might be very difficult to pass some kind of voting-related legislation without getting rid of the filibuster – which Manchin maintains he is against. But he still said it is possible.
“Remember this, the person at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there okay, you got to keep climbing and climbing and climbing,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., maintains that Democrats will bring S.1, which Manchin has said he cannot support, to the floor for a vote this month. Democrats say that the bill is needed to push back against GOP-controlled state legislatures who have passed several election security laws this year.
Schumer Thursday slammed Republicans for their opposition to S.1, saying that they are too tied to former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen.
“Donald Trump – his Big Lie has enveloped the Republican Party, and they run away from truth and honesty and fairness just to appease someone with a very authoritarian instinct,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday.
Republicans, meanwhile, say that S.1 is about giving Democrats a leg-up in future elections. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called it “the mother of all power grabs” while his colleague from South Dakota, Sen. John Thune, alleged that the bill is only being used for a “show vote.”
Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.