Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., fiercely opposed Democrats’ proposed voting reform bill, telling “Fox News Sunday” that even a stripped-down version from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was unacceptable.
The “For the People Act” aims to give the federal government significant control over elections by imposing standards on the states such as automatic and same-day registration, universal mail-in voting, and forbidding the requirement of voter identification.
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“In my view, SR1 is the biggest power grab in the history of the country,” Graham said. “It mandates ballot harvesting, no voter ID, it does away with the states being able to redistrict when you have population shifts. It’s just a bad idea.”
Manchin’s proposal eliminated many of the more radical measures included in the original bill, but it does address redistricting, which to Graham is a deal-breaker.
“States are in charge of voting in America so I don’t like the idea of taking the power to redistrict away from state legislators,” he said. “You have people moving from blue states to red states. Under this proposal you would have some kind of commission redraw the new districts and I don’t like that. I want states where people are moving to have control over how to allocate new congressional seats. So as much as I like Joe Manchin, the answer would be no.”
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Earlier in the interview, Graham also accused Democrats of seeking power through a massive infrastructure bill.
Graham said that while Republicans oppose a massive spending proposal that would cover items not traditionally viewed as infrastructure, they would get on board for spending $1 trillion to improve the country
To that end, Graham had a direct message for President Biden: an infrastructure bill can become a reality if he is willing to lead his party toward compromise.
“If you want an infrastructure deal with a trillion dollars, it’s there for the taking. You just need to get involved and lead,” Graham said.
Graham later qualified this, saying he would not support a compromised bill if Democrats were to move forward with a separate spending package that would pass with a party-line vote.
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Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the liberal House caucus, said progressives want a $6 trillion to $10 trillion plan. Beyond traditional physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, progressives want the inclusion of major social welfare plans in the package, such as expanding Medicare, universal childcare, expansion of the child tax credit, affordable housing and climate change provisions.
“What they’re calling infrastructure,” Graham said, “to me is not remotely related to what has traditionally been called infrastructure it’s just a power grab by the Democratic party in every area of our lives.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.