Senate Democrats to Push Voting Rights Bills by Trying to Break Filibuster
Democrats in the Senate will try to pass on Tuesday voting rights legislation by breaking the Senate’s centuries-old filibuster rule.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that the chamber will vote on two voting rights bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, on Tuesday.
“Make no mistake, the United States Senate will — for the first time this Congress — debate voting rights legislation beginning on Tuesday. Members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, particularly on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as this one. And we will proceed,” Schumer said Thursday night. The D.C.-area snowstorm last week delayed the vote until this week.
The two bills will fail as they require 60 votes to pass through the Senate. From there, Schumer will attempt to pass the bills by bypassing the filibuster rule.
However, bypassing the filibuster rule would require buy-in from all 50 Senate Democrats, and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have consistently rebuked efforts to nuke the filibuster.
“Eliminating the 60-vote threshold on a party line with the thinnest of possible majorities to pass these bills that I support will not guarantee that we prevent demagogues from winning office,” Sinema said on the Senate floor Thursday.
“If the two centrist senators hold firm on rules changes, it appears all but impossible for Democrats to pass a series of reforms they see as critical to protecting ballot access,” CNBC noted last week.
The two voting bills would expand early and mail-in voting, establish automatic voter registration, make Election Day a national holiday, and revive parts of the Voting Rights Act.
President Joe Biden tried to persuade Manchin and Sinema Thursday night after Sinema’s speech; however, his lobbying was unsuccessful.
“I hope we can get this done,” Biden said about Democrat chances of passing the voting bills. “The honest to God answer is, I don’t know whether we can get this done.”
Conservatives have criticized the voting rights bills, noting that the proposed legislation would block any state election reforms to increase voting integrity, such as Georgia’s election integrity bill.
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts and Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in January that Schumer’s use of the January 6 protests as a reason to break the filibuster in order to pass these voting bills would establish “permanent power” for Democrats.
“There is a path forward for my Democratic colleagues to respond to the country they have so badly disappointed. It isn’t to try to break the Senate and rewrite election laws. It’s to actually start tackling the issues that American families need tackled,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Thursday.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.