Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked Democrats from advancing a voting rights bill, and two moderate Democrats later rejected a bid to change the Senate’s filibuster rules so the party can pass the legislation on its own, likely extinguishing the Biden Administration’s months-long push for sweeping voting reform.

Key Facts

A motion to cut off debate on the Democrat-supported Freedom to Vote Act — a necessary move before the Senate can hold a final vote on the bill — failed in a 49-51 vote Wednesday night, falling well short of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to end debate on most legislation.

The tally was initially 50-50, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) changed from yes to no, a procedural move meant to let him hold another vote later.

Less than two hours later, the Senate also voted down Democratic leaders’ push to change the body’s rules to allow the voting bill to advance with a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) siding with Republicans to reject the rules change 52-48.

Key Background

The Freedom to Vote Act would create nationwide minimum standards for early and mail-in voting, make Election Day a holiday and roll out automatic voter registration nationwide, among other reforms. Democrats have cast the bill as a response to many Republican-controlled states’ efforts to restrict voting over the last year. The bill is cosponsored by dozens of Senate Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, but with the Senate split 50-50 between the two parties, at least 10 Republicans would need to support the bill for it to move forward. As a result, President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have argued changing the 60-vote filibuster is the only option to pass the bill. Last week, Manchin and Sinema said they will not agree to this rules change, arguing the filibuster encourages bipartisanship and prevents the majority party from unilaterally passing legislation.

Chief Critic

“I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy,” Biden said in a Wednesday evening statement. “I am disappointed — but I am not deterred.”

Further Viewing

Source: Forbes – Business

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