Vice President Kamala Harris was seen meeting with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, in the vice president’s office right off the Senate floor. CNN reporters saw them walk into the room.
Murkowski, a key swing vote in the Senate, in a floor speech criticized the For the People Act which will face a test vote later today, saying that even though there are parts of the bill that she supports, overall it is “wholly partisan,” and has provisions that are “bad policy.”
Republicans have been unified in opposition to the bill and are expected to remain unified in their opposition during the test vote.
“If you look at the bill it is wholly partisan,” she said. “Unlike the John Lewis Voting Rights Act which is very narrowly focused on voting rights, S1 has been described as sprawling, it has been described as ambitious, which is fair. Ambitious is not a bad thing, but it is clearly, clearly, very broad.” She added, “I fear there are provisions contained within S1 that take it too far or that I think are bad policy or that I simply think are beyond the power of Congress to regulate.”
“My concern and I’ve shared with many is that the bill that we have in front of us is not so much about voting rights as it is a federal takeover of the election system and a partisan federal takeover,” she said.
Murkowski did offer praise for some elements of the bill, saying, “There are certain aspects of S1 that I absolutely do support.”
By way of example, she said, “Early voting, we shouldn’t be limited to just the day of the election, I think we recognize that. What we can do to ensure that early voting is there, I think is important to us,” and “I think we need to be doing more when it comes to ease of voter registration.”
Murkowski also talked about absentee voting, saying, “I come from a state where you want to vote absentee, there is no excuse required. You can just vote absentee because it is more convenient to you. I was really surprised to find out how many states do not allow for that. I think that’s something that we need to address. I am supportive of that.”
A White House official confirmed that Harris met with Sen. Murkowski just off the Senate floor in the VP’s private office for close to an hour, before the vote.
Leaving the meeting, Murkowski said she and the Harris did not discuss the voting legislation that’s on the floor. But an administration official said they did discuss infrastructure.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed reporting to this post.