Senators meeting with Manchin on voting rights bills — Schumer

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin confer before addressing reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) confer before addressing reporters following the weekly senate party caucus luncheons at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 9, 2019.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Senate Democrats are continuing to press the holdouts in their party to embrace voting rights bills, and a group planned to meet with one of them, Senator Joe Manchin on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Senators have continued intensive discussions with Manchin and Senator Krysten Sinema throughout the holiday break, Schumer told CNN, and seven or eight of them will discuss the different proposals in the meeting with Manchin.

“The bottom line is this: They must allow us to pass these two vital pieces of legislation, even if not a single Republican joins us,” Schumer said.

On Monday, Schumer said the narrowly Democratic-controlled chamber needed to consider a change to its filibuster rule after a wave of Republican-led states last year passed new restrictions on voting, inspired by Republican former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election he lost by a substantial margin.

Senate Democrats tried to bring the voting-rights bill to a floor vote four times last year, and were repeatedly blocked by Republicans, who made use of the filibuster rule that requires 60 of the 100 senators to agree to advance most legislation.

Democrats could change the chamber’s rules with just a simple majority, but two centrist members of their party – Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – have repeatedly voiced objection to doing so.

“We’re exploring a variety of ways to change the rules (that would) allow us to pass these two important pieces of legislation,” Schumer said. There are definitive proposals out there, he said without elaborating.