Democratic lawmakers took stock of election laws in the U.S. on Sunday as the country reels from the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which sparked calls for voting rights reform on the national level — an effort that has proved to be a difficult legislative lift thus far.
Congressional lawmakers came together on Thursday to mark one year since the deadly riots at the Capitol in which pro-Trump protesters sought to thwart the Congress’ counting of the Electoral College vote for the 2020 presidential election, a process that is mandated by the Constitution.
The anniversary came as the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack was ramping up, with more than 300 witnesses interviewed and upwards of 50 subpoenas issued thus far.
Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerFox News tops ratings for coverage on Jan. 6 anniversary events Sunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions No, Jan. 6 wasn’t worse than 9/11, nor is democracy at risk: Here’s why MORE (R-Ill.) on Sunday told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the panel already has a “powerful and substantive narrative” roughly six months into its investigation. He is one of two GOP lawmakers serving on the congressional panel along with Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyFox News tops ratings for coverage on Jan. 6 anniversary events Sunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions US sees image tarnished abroad post-Jan. 6 MORE (R-Wyo.).
The Illinois Republican said that if the committee stopped receiving information today it would “be able to put out a powerful and substantive narrative,” but noted that there is still information the group is looking to obtain.
Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinSunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions The ‘hero’ of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Marking the Jan. 6 ‘chaos and carnage’ MORE (D-Md.) on Sunday said people have “overwhelmingly” participated in the congressional investigation, and that the panel is “really connecting all the dots.”
He also relayed information regarding former White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamGrisham says former Trump officials meeting next week ‘to try and stop him’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Marking the Jan. 6 ‘chaos and carnage’ Former Trump press secretary to meet Wednesday with Jan. 6 committee MORE’s meeting with the panel, which ran for an hour on Wednesday. Grisham, who served in key roles in the Trump administration, told the panel “a number of names that I had not heard before,” according to Raskin, who is also serving on the Jan. 6 panel.
With the House select committee’s investigation moving along and the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack in the rearview mirror, Democratic lawmakers are now looking to bolster their push for election and voting reform to prevent another event like Jan. 6 from happening again in the U.S., and to safeguard against the type of turmoil the rioters sought to achieve last year.
The focus on voting rights grew after a number of Republican-dominated state legislatures enacted restrictive election laws in the wake of the 2020 presidential race. At least 19 states passed at least 34 laws that sought to implement more restrictions on access to voting between Jan. 1 and Dec. 7 of last year, according to the Brennan Center.
House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden eulogizes Reid as a fighter ‘for the America we all love’ at memorial service Sunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions Woman at Jan. 6 Capitol attack involved in fatal car crash MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that such election laws are a “legislative continuation” of what Republicans did on Jan. 6, when they sought to “undermine our democracy, to undermine the integrity of our elections, to undermine the voting power, which is the essence of a democracy.”
As a result, congressional Democrats are looking to act. They want to pass federal voting reform, but political disagreements and internal party clashes are creating an upward battle.
The party’s marquee voting rights bills — the Freedom to Vote Act and John LewisJohn LewisSchumer makes plea for voting bill, filibuster reform in rare Friday session The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Biden unleashes on Trump and GOP Democrats skeptical of McConnell’s offer to talk on election law MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act — were both blocked by Senate Republicans last year.
Some Democrats are now calling for the filibuster to be abolished to allow the party to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority vote, but not all members of the caucus are on board. Moderate Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin can support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund by backing Build Back Better Schumer makes plea for voting bill, filibuster reform in rare Friday session Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSchumer makes plea for voting bill, filibuster reform in rare Friday session The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden comes out swinging in 2022 Democrats skeptical of McConnell’s offer to talk on election law MORE (D-Ariz.) have both been adamant in their opposition to amending Senate rules to pass such legislation.
Pressed by CBS’s Margaret Brennan on the stalemate Democrats have faced with voting rights on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said “we just have to keep working on that.”
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday reiterated his long-held stance that the filibuster should be nixed for matters involving voting rights. He told “Fox News Sunday” that the legislative hurdle “ought not to be applied to constitutional issues like voting.”
Despite disagreements over existing legislation and the filibuster, one compromise may be on the horizon.
Asked about making changes to the Electoral Count Act, an 1887 law that outlines how Congress formally tallies the Electoral College vote, Clyburn told anchor Bret Baier “we’ll take that,” but noted that it is “not all we need to do.”
That effort appears to be shaping up to have bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection Schumer makes plea for voting bill, filibuster reform in rare Friday session Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin MORE (R-Ky.) last week said making changes to the decades-old statute is “worth discussing,” and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection Schumer: McConnell floating Electoral Count Act reforms ‘unacceptably insufficient,’ ‘offensive’ Lawmakers discuss changes to Electoral Count Act after Jan. 6 MORE (R-S.D.), the number two Republican in the GOP Senate conference, said “there’s been some expression of interest” in changing that particular law.
Regardless of which direction the upper chamber proceeds in, voting rights legislation is certain to take center state in the coming weeks. Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden eulogizes Reid as a fighter ‘for the America we all love’ at memorial service Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin Pelosi: It was ‘inexplicable’ why it took so long for National Guard to be activated on Jan. 6 MORE (D-N.Y.) vowed earlier this month to force a vote on changing the Senate’s rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans again block voting rights legislation again.