Biden suffrage is pressured by Democrats Sinema, Manchin

  • Schumer sets the vote for Tuesday
  • President meets key lawmakers in voting rights pressure
  • Biden ‘not sure’ that he will succeed

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s attempt to rally Democrats on Thursday to change Senate rules and pass legislation on voting rights was thwarted, even before he arrived in the U.S. capital, by opposition from a major moderate lawmaker.

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said in a Senate speech Thursday – less than an hour before Biden’s arrival at lunchtime – that the “filibuster rule” that allows a minority of senators to block legislation was necessary to prevent worsening political divisions. in the country. Country.

After Biden left the Capitol after his meeting with the Democrats, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin joined the Cinema in opposing Senate rule changes.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer nonetheless announced late Thursday that the Senate will begin debating the legislation next Tuesday. If Republicans block that bill as expected, Schumer said he was prepared to seek a change in the Senate filibuster rule to win review.

While officials did not anticipate any quick breakthroughs, Biden continued to push his case with Sinema and Manchin out into the evening. The two senators met Biden in the White House for a meeting that lasted over an hour, the administration said.

None of the participants spoke to the media afterwards. A White House official described the meeting as a “sincere and respectful exchange of views.”

Earlier, as he left the Capitol, the president acknowledged that his party might not succeed in getting a bill on the right to vote.

“I hope we can get this done, but I’m not sure,” Biden told reporters. “One thing is for sure: Like all other major civil rights bills that came, we can, if we miss the first time, come back and try it another time. We missed this time.”

Biden and many other Democrats have stepped up their campaign to pass the ballot after spending much of their first year in office on infrastructure and spending bills focused on COVID-19 relief, infrastructure and social safety net programs.

They are proposing new legislation that they say will protect access to the ballot, especially for minority voters, as Republican-controlled states impose new restrictions ahead of the November 8 congressional election.

Non-white voters disproportionately support very democratic candidates for office.

US President Joe Biden arrives to make remarks on voting rights during a speech at Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, January 11, 2022. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst / File Photo

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives adopted a motion for a vote on Thursday. But Democrats can not overcome universal Republican opposition in the Senate without changing the House’s filibuster rule, which requires 60 of the 100 senators to agree on most of the legislation. Democrats have 50 seats.

“I will not support separate actions that exacerbate the underlying disease of division in our country,” Sinema said in the Senate.

Sinema and Manchin voted in December to circumvent the 60-vote threshold to raise the nation’s debt limit without Republican support.

‘DIFFICULT’ ROAD

Independent Senator Angus King, who holds the caucus with the Democrats, said he believed Biden had a strong case when he met with lawmakers.

“It seems that the way forward is very difficult, especially based on Senator Sinema’s statement today,” he said. “She believes the risk of changing filibusters is greater than the risk of what is going on in the states. I sincerely hope she is right. I fear she is wrong.”

The House repackaged and passed two election-related bills as one and sent it to the Senate during a special procedure that prevented Republicans from blocking debate. The bill was approved along party lines. Read more

“Make no mistake, the U.S. Senate will, for the first time, this Congress debate legislation on the right to vote, which begins on Tuesday,” Schumer said late Thursday. Three separate attempts to debate the legislation last year were thwarted by Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Wednesday that Republicans oppose Democrats’ suffrage legislation and changes to the filibuster.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama wrote Thursday in a USA Today post that the filibuster rule has become a tool for the House minority to prevent movements supported by most voters.

“We can not allow it to be used to block efforts to protect our democracy,” Obama wrote.

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Additional reporting by David Morgan, Jarrett Renshaw, Trevor Hunnicutt and Moira Warburton; Written by Jarrett Renshaw, Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing Mary Milliken, Heather Timmons, Grant McCool, Jonathan Oatis, Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis

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