Georgia Senator Ossoff Open to Compromise on Voting Rights Bill
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff said no part of a massive Democratic voting rights bill is off the table as the two parties negotiate a possible compromise in the Senate.
Speaking to Bloomberg News on Monday, the freshman Democrat said he will look at the big picture when deciding whether to support a new bill.
“I wouldn’t define a red line at this point,” he said. “It’s going to need to meet a certain overall qualitative threshold for me that it substantively advances protection of voting rights.”
On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on an 800-page bill passed by the House that would create automatic voter registration nationwide, expand early voting and restrict gerrymandering among other things.
But that bill is expected to fail in the Senate, unable to reach the required 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has already floated a compromise that would strip away provisions like restoring voting rights of felons.
Ossoff said he is open to changing the filibuster rules for specific types of bills or lowering the threshold of support below the current 60 votes, which would likely be necessary to advance voting rights legislation given Republican opposition. The Senate has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.
“I came to the Senate to legislate, not to be mired in gridlock,” he said.
Ossoff also said he believes Georgia Democrats can overcome some of the new barriers to voting put in place in a bill signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp earlier this year with more voter outreach, but slammed the action as adding unnecessary burdens.
“I believe that voter registration, get-out-the-vote and organizing efforts can work around new restrictions,” he said. “But let’s be very clear that the purpose of the Republican state legislators in advancing this bill was to gain a partisan edge.”
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