Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) lamented the recent spate of laws aimed at restricting voting since the Supreme Court’s decision in late June to ax a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act. But, notably, the Democratic leader tempered expectations when it comes to enacting a legislative fix to the portion of the 1965 law that the high court invalidated. “The Senate will debate the Voting Rights Act. We will examine these dangerous voter suppression efforts, and propose steps the Senate can take to ensure the right of every American to cast a ballot,” Reid said in a statement Wednesday.
No vow that a fix will pass into law. It was a cautious remark that underlies the extraordinary political headwinds in passing a new formula to determine which state and local governments need federal permission before changing their voting laws. Specifically, Republicans have shown little interest in fixing the law, because they have many political incentives not to and little to gain by doing so.
Some House Republicans have publicly poured cold water on the effort, including Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), the Judiciary subcommittee chief with jurisdiction over the issue.