McConnell: John Lewis voting rights bill ‘unnecessary’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he doesn’t support legislation to strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act named after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

“There’s no threat to the voting rights law. It’s against the law to discriminate in voting based on race already. And so I think it’s unnecessary,” McConnell told reporters.

The senator, along with almost all of his GOP colleagues, did not co-sponsor the bill when it was introduced during the previous Congress.

McConnell’s remarks come as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is trying to rally Democrats to focus on the voting legislation instead of a broader bill known as the For the People Act that would revamp federal elections.

His comments underscore what Democrats have long acknowledged: A bill strengthening the 1965 voting law doesn’t have the 10 GOP votes needed to overcome a legislative filibuster.

The bill in the previous Congress had just one GOP co-sponsor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who reiterated on Tuesday that she supports it.

Congress last reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2006. But the Supreme Court in 2013 gutted the law when it struck down the formula for determining whether state and local governments were required to get Justice Department preclearance for voting and election changes, arguing that the provision was outdated.

Tags 1965 Voting Rights Act Filibuster For the People Act Joe Manchin John Lewis Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell

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