The clashing opinions will come to a head Tuesday morning when the Senate Rules Committee Tuesday will hold a hearing to promote the election overhaul legislation that's numbered S.1 to signify it's the Democratic majority's top priority in the Senate.
If the last hearing on the S.1 was any indication, pressures will be high as Democrats attempt to pass the bill out of committee and send it to a showdown vote on the Senate floor. Throughout the March 24 hearing on the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fired heated broadsides against each other.
"Shame, shame, shame," Schumer stated while referring to GOP attempts to harden voting rules on the state level after Democrats won the 2020 election.
"Instead of doing what you should be doing when you lose an election in a democracy, attempting to win over those voters in the next election, Republicans instead are trying to disenfranchise those voters," Schumer said. "Shame on them."
McConnell, though, explained that Democrats were attempting to "forcibly rewrite" election laws in all 50 states and turn the Federal Election Commission into a partisan body to enforce campaign laws.
"Talk about shame. If anybody ought to be feeling any shame around here, it's turning the FEC into a partisan prosecutor, the majority controlled by the president's party, to harass and intimidate the other side," McConnell announced at the March 24 hearing. "That's what you ought to be ashamed about."
The backdrop for the legislation is the fate of the Senate's legislative filibuster, which needs 60 votes to advance most legislation. With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats would have to win more than 10 Republicans to pass the bill, which appears impossible given the intense GOP opposition.
So progressives claim that voting rights legislation should be the landmark bill to eliminate the filibuster and pass the legislation with a simple majority. Schumer has promised to bring S.1 up for a vote and signaled this legislation may change the rules.
"The process that I outlined for S.1 is a process that, I think, could very well cause the Senate to evolve," Schumer told The New York Times' Ezra Klein in April in reference to the filibuster.
The House already passed its version of H.R. 1 in March in a party-line vote. The legislation establishes a new public financing system for congressional and presidential elections to incentivize small-dollar contributions. The legislation would set a 6-to-1 match for each grassroots contribution to a candidate up to $200.