Lindsey Graham calls the Democrats’ voting-rights bill ‘the biggest power grab’ in US history, rejects Manchin compromise proposal
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday continued to reject the premise of the For the People Act.
Graham said that he would also oppose Sen. Joe Manchin’s compromise proposal.
“We had the largest turnout in the history the US, and states are in charge of voting in America,” he said.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday blasted the Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights bill, saying that even a compromise hashed out by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia would not pass muster.
The “For the People Act,” also known as H.R.1 or S.1., would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, and establish national standards for voter registration, among other measures.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham called the legislation “a bad idea” and dismissed Manchin’s efforts to attract Republican support by narrowing some of the provisions in the bill.
“In my view, S.R. 1 is the biggest power grab in the history of the country,” he said. “It mandates ballot harvesting, no voter ID. It does away with the states being able to redistrict when you have population shifts. It’s just a bad idea, and it’s a problem that most Republicans are not going to sign – they’re trying to fix a problem most Republicans have a different view of.”
Manchin, who is opposed S.1. in its current form, last week laid out a proposed compromise bill.
While he backs automatic voter registration and making Election Day a holiday, his bill would allow for voter identification provisions that Democrats didn’t include in the legislation.
Prominent Democrats including national party Chairman Jaime Harrison of South Carolina, former Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas all signed off on Manchin’s proposal.
“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 last week.
Graham continued to give a thumbs down on Manchin’s proposal, despite his positive working relationship with the Democratic senator.
“Well, one, I like Joe Manchin a lot, but we had the largest turnout in the history of the United States, and states are in charge of voting in America, so I don’t like the idea of taking the power to redistrict away from the state legislators,” he said.
He added: “You’re having people move from blue states to red states. Under this proposal, you’d have some kind of commission redraw the new districts, and I don’t like that. I want states where people are moving to have control over how to allocate new congressional seats.”
While several Democratic-leaning states including Illinois and Pennsylvania are set to lose congressional districts due to population shifts, some Republican-dominated states are losing seats, as well. Ohio and West Virginia, which have trended “red” in recent election cycles, are each losing a congressional district.
Last week, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also panned the compromise proposal.
“I would make this observation about the revised version. … All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well if that were to be what surfaced on the floor,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled a Tuesday vote that would start debate on the bill, despite the likelihood of a GOP-led filibuster.
The voting-rights bill would have to clear the 60-vote threshold to withstand a legislative filibuster and proceed to a vote where it could pass with a simple majority.
“Our goal remains crystal clear: Protect the right to vote, strengthen our democracy, and put a stop to the tide of voter suppression flooding across our country,” the New York Democrat said last week.
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