WASHINGTON (SBG) — A hearing about the Senate's For the People Act set off fierce debate Wednesday, even among Democrats and Republicans with a history of working well together.
Democrats have called for the swift passage of the bill that includes measures to allow all voters to cast their ballot by mail, scale back the need for photo identification at the polls and implement automatic voter registration.
“The For the People Act is about three simple ideas: making voting easier, getting big money out of politics and strengthening ethics rules," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., chair of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, said.
The bill already passed in the House, where it's known as H.R. 1. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a rare appearance at the hearing to argue the bill must be passed in order to block some state efforts to pass strict voting laws.
“Including a bill to require every absentee ballot to be notarized. How are poor people gonna pay for a notary?” Schumer said.
Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of corruption.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., called the bill "a power grab by those politicians who are currently in power who wrote this bill.”
As of Wednesday, the For the People Act had nowhere near enough support to break the 60-vote Senate filibuster.
Schumer recently said "failure is not an option" and "everything is on the table" for passing the bill. Some have called for Democrats to change filibuster rules so they exempt voting rights legislation.