Doing so, however, would require unified Democratic support for the House bill. A New York Times report published Tuesday suggests some Democrats are having second thoughts about the legislation many lauded as a transformational achievement, part of a “modern-day civil rights battle that the party cannot afford to lose.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) opposes the bill, known as the For The People Act, in its existing form. But he is not the only Democrat expressing reservations, even if he’s the only one willing to do so on the record. Some black Democrats, for example, are concerned the bill might have racially charged consequences.
The Times reports:
Behind the scenes, two election lawyers close to the White House and congressional Democrats said Mr. Manchin was not the only one on their side with reservations about the measure. They insisted on anonymity to discuss the concerns because few Democrats want to concede that there are cracks in the coalition backing the measure or incur the wrath of the legion of liberal advocacy groups that have made its enactment their top priority.
Black House members, for instance, are deeply uneasy over the bill’s shift to independent redistricting commissions, which they fear could cost them seats if majority-minority districts are broken up, particularly in the South. Before the bill passed the House, its authors spent significant time reassuring members of the Congressional Black Caucus that there were adequate protections in place to preserve their districts. But a prominent committee chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, remained so concerned that he voted against the bill, despite having sponsored it.
The bill could ensure Democrat victory for decades if passed in the Senate.