The Senate fails to end the debate on voting rights legislation ahead of the filibuster vote

The Senate has failed to end the debate on suffrage legislation – a move that would have required 60 votes to move toward the final passage.

The vote was 49-51.

After another round of remarks on the Senate floor, there will be another vote to change Senate rules so that legislation can be passed by a simple majority. It would require 51 votes and is also expected to fail.

In a rare case, the Senate met Wednesday morning with all Democrats instructed to sit in their seats inside the chamber as they tried to move forward with legislation on the right to vote and a challenge to a long-standing Senate government.

Late. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Was one of the last to speak before the vote began.

“January 6 happened, but here’s the thing, January 5 happened too. Georgia, a state in the old confederation, sent a black man and a Jewish man to the Senate in one fell swoop,” he said. “Our nation has always had a complicated history, and I present to you that this is where we are – we are on our way out of a moral dilemma. We are trapped somewhere between 5 January and 6 January. Between our hopes and our fears.Between bigotry and beloved community.And in every moment we humans must decide which way we want to go and what we are willing to sacrifice to get there.The question today is whether we will give in to a violent attack, the aim of which is now being pursued through laws to oppress party-political voters in the state legislature? “

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that Democrats would seek a departure from the filibuster rule to pass voting law by replacing the current 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster with an old-fashioned “talking filibuster” .

“We feel very simple: As for something as important as voting rights, if Senate Republicans want to oppose it, they should not be allowed to sit in their office,” Schumer said Tuesday after a caucus meeting that evening. “They need to get down on the floor and defend their opposition to the right to vote, the source of our democracy. There is a broad, strong feeling in our caucus around it.”

“The eyes of history are on us,” he told an open debate Wednesday in which he defensively defended the effort as a moral victory, if not a legislative one. “Win, lose or draw, we are going to vote, especially when the issue concerns the beating heart of democracy.”

Schumer called on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell directly in his speech, which has prompted his party to block Democrats’ election reform efforts five times in the past year, blasting him for falsely claiming that red states have not changed laws restricting voter turnout.

“Just as Donald Trump has his ‘big lie’, Mitch McConnell now has his: States are not committed to trying to oppress voters at all,” Schumer said.

He also addressed two Democratic senators who hold what Schumer believes is a false view that the House’s filibuster brings greater bias – and he countered in his remarks: “Is not the protection of voting rights – the most basic source of this democracy – – more important? “

McConnell said in another blistering speech that a rule change would “destroy the Senate” and warned of a “nuclear winter” if Democrats get their way and “blow up” the House rule to pass suffrage legislation, which he called a “partisan.” Frankenstein bill. “

“This is exactly the kind of toxic worldview that this president promised to reject, but it’s exactly what has consumed his party on his watch,” said McConnell, who is building on days of beating President Joe Biden.

McConnell accused the Democrats of trying to “smash and seize as much short-term power as they can carry,” saying, “For both groups of senators, this vote will resonate for generations.”

When majority whip senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Tried to ask McConnell a question after his speech and get him involved in a debate on the issue, the Republican leader walked away.

“I’m sorry he did not stay for the question,” Durbin told the hall. “Does he really think there is no evidence of voter repression in the actions of 19 states?”

The Democrats’ election reform proposal comes at a time when 19 states have restricted access to voting due to false claims in the wake of the 2020 election, according to the impartial Brennan Center for Justice. The current bill would make Election Day a federal holiday, extend early voting and postal voting, and give the federal government greater oversight of state elections.

Schumer has proposed returning to a speaking filibuster on the issue with the aim of undermining GOP barriers to make room for the bill’s final passage.

During a speaking filibuster, senators are required to “keep the floor” during debate and test their endurance while standing and speaking to block bills. When a party runs out of steam, the chamber would then pass the bill, which was filibustered by simple majority. So in theory, Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, would act as a vote for the Democrats to pass the once filibustered bill.

But both the democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have repeatedly made clear their opposition to changing the filibuster rule themselves to adopt the right to vote, even though they say they support the underlying legislation.

“I do not know how to break a rule to make a rule,” Manchin said Tuesday as he shot down the proposed talking filibuster.

Manchin defended his decision to vote against changing Senate rules in a speech Wednesday night, which he said was aimed at “refuting what I believe is a major deception of the American people” by Senate Democrats.

“Eliminating the filibuster would be the easy way out. It was not meant to be easy,” Manchin said. “I can not support such a dangerous course for this nation when elected leaders are sent to Washington to unite our country so as not to divide our country. We are called the United States, not the divided states, and to put politics and party aside is, what we are going to do. “

Manchin pleaded once again for co-operation between two parties, saying he believes electoral reform could be achieved in a bipartisan way if members worked on it.

“I do not know what happened to the good old days, but I can tell you that they are not here now,” Manchin said.

The West Virginia lawmaker said he respects the fact that many Democrats have migrated in their stance on the filibuster, asking for respect in his steadfast opposition.

Late. However, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Posted in Manchin and Sinema on Wednesday night.

“I do not understand why two Democrats who probably understand the importance of the Freedom of Voting Act, and as I understand it, will vote for the Freedom to Vote Act are not prepared to change the rules, so the bill can actually be allowed … I do not understand that, “he said. “If you think this bill makes sense, and if you’re worried about the future of American democracy, and if you’m ready to vote for the bill, then why are you wasting everyone’s time and not voting for the rule change that allows us? to pass the bill? You know, it’s like inviting someone to lunch and doing a good job and saying you can not eat. “

In general, senators rarely occupy the hall while the debate is open, and only those who want to speak comment on a largely empty space – but that was not the case for the showdown with high stakes on Wednesday.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas warned Democrats that they are heading for a “slip slope” in an attempt to create an exception for the filibuster to pass a piece of legislation.

“They will soon find themselves lamenting the day their party broke the Senate,” he said. “The next Republican-controlled Senate can make 2017 tax cuts permanent, ensure blue state millionaires are required to pay their fair share of federal taxes,” he continued, listing GOP platforms, including implementing a 20-week ban on abortion and establishment covert transport of firearms throughout the country.

Both parties have supported filibuster committees over the past decade for judge candidates – first under then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who lowered the threshold for judge candidates to 51 votes to make room for then-President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2013. McConnell, as Senate Majority Leader in 2017, he also used the so-called “nuclear option” to confirm then-President Donald Trump’s first candidate for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch

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