Biden’s Agenda Enters Critical Week On Capitol Hill Ahead Of Looming Senate Recess

Biden’s Agenda Enters Critical Week On Capitol Hill Ahead Of Looming Senate Recess

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Washington (CNN)Lawmakers will resume a slate of tense negotiations this week over voting rights, infrastructure and police reform as President Joe Biden’s agenda enters an important week on Capitol Hill.

Looming large over the deliberations is the July 4 recess in the Senate, which begins at the end of the week and could encourage real momentum just as easily as it could disrupt it.

Here’s where things stand on Capitol Hill:

    Democrats press forward with voting rights bill

      The Senate on Tuesday is set to vote on whether to advance the so-called For the People Act, a sweeping elections bill that currently lacks Republican support.

        But Democrats are looking to the vote as a chance to showcase unified support within their party and create a clear contrast with Republicans over the issue of voting access in America.

        As a result, all eyes are on Sen. Joe Manchin.

          Last week, the West Virginia Democrat left open the option that he could support a modified bill after previously opposing the drafted legislation. He said he’s open to backing several of the provisions in the For the People Act, including declaring Election Day a public holiday, expanding early voting to at least 15 consecutive days and banning partisan gerrymandering.

          But in return for his crucial support, Manchin wants to require identification to vote, which many progressives view as discriminatory toward racial minorities, but which Republicans see as essential to deterring potential voter fraud.

          Still, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said he likes the House-passed HR 1, signaled openness to Manchin’s proposed changes.

          “Sounds like I’m open to doing everything I possibly can to protect American democracy,” Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, said when pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” if he supports Manchin’s proposal.

          The compromise effort was also praised by voting rights champion Stacey Abrams.

          But even if enough Democrats rally around Manchin’s counter proposal, he has long said that he believes any changes of this magnitude must also have the backing of Republicans — an exceedingly unlikely prospect.

          GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham made that much clear on “Fox News Sunday,” calling the For the People Act “the biggest power grab in the history of the country” and Manchin’s proposal still too ambitious.

          “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 state legislators. You’re having people move from red — blue states to red states,” the South Carolina Republican said.

          “Under this proposal, you would 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.”

          “So, as much as I like Joe Manchin, the answer would be no,” he added.

          The sweeping For the People Act, which was passed by the House in March, would bar states from limiting voting by mail, would require prepaid postage on absentee ballots and would mandate voter registration on the same day as the election. It also effectively would overturn voter ID laws by requiring states to allow voters to submit sworn statements in lieu of identification.

          Negotiations over the legislation come as 14 states have already enacted at least 22 new laws restricting voting this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

          And more Republican-controlled state legislatures have joined the march to limit access to the ballot box, motivated by former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that voter fraud contributed to his White House loss in 2020.

          Most of the new laws make it harder to vote absentee and by mail, after a record number of Americans voted by mail in November.

          Infrastructure at a crossroads

          Demo

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          Biden’s agenda enters critical week on Capitol Hill ahead of looming Senate recess

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