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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) claimed during a hearing Wednesday that Democrats' signature voting rights bill, the "For the People Act," is unnecessary because "states are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever."

Reality check: Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to pass measures to make it more difficult to vote by limiting mail-in ballots, implementing new voter ID requirements and slashing registration options.

  • "There are at least 165 proposals under consideration in 33 states so far this year to restrict future voting access," Axios' Russell Contreras and Stef Kight wrote in February.
  • In South Carolina, a proposal would require signature matching for absentee ballots. A New Hampshire proposal would allow anyone to observe polls "without obstruction." A Texas plan would require that the Department of Public Safety verify voters' citizenship.
  • "Some of these voter suppression laws in Georgia and other Republican states smack of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head once again," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claimed ahead of McConnell's comments.

The big picture: McConnell and Schumer both made rare appearances at a hearing of the Senate Rules Committee, which is examining the Democratic proposal to expand voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote by mail and early voting).

  • The For the People Act would require states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting to eliminate partisan gerrymandering.
  • It would also expand the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, require additional campaign finance disclosures, force presidential and vice presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, reform the Federal Election Commission, and more.

Between the lines: Protection of voting rights is one of the key issues that Democrats have said warrants getting rid of the 60-vote filibuster if Republicans insist on blocking the legislation.

What he's saying: "States are not engaged in trying to suppress voters whatsoever," McConnell said.

  • "This is clearly an effort by one party to rewrite the rules of our political system. But even more immediately, it would create an implementation nightmare ... that would drown state and local officials who run elections.
  • "This proposal needs all the scrutiny it can get and I'm glad we're all here to give it that scrutiny," McConnell added.

Go deeper

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.