Senate Republicans block voting rights legislation

Sanders won't say if he'll support Manchin's voting rights compromise

Senate Democrats failed to get the 100-member body to hear a sweeping voting rights reform bill known as the For the People Act on Tuesday.

A 50-50 party-line vote fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance most legislation under Senate rules.

He declined to specify those options, although Democrats have discussed breaking the measure up into smaller bills to be voted on individually, or packaging some elements with a separate bill that could draw at least some Republican support.

Republican lawmakers have rebuked the sweeping legislation, while Democrats argue it is a necessary counterweight to various restrictive voting measures red states are imposing. That's why, according to the Senate leader, there are so many Republican-led states passing more voter laws. We need to protect the sacred right to vote and ensure "We the People" choose our ldrs, the very foundation on which our democracy rests.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted that President Joe Biden isn't done with pushing the legislation.

The Democrats agree on some basic elements of any legislation, including 15 days of continuous, early voting, including on weekends, and automatic voter registration for anyone with a driver's license, along with making Election Day a national holiday. The vote was the "starting gun" and not the "finish line", he said.

Prior to the vote, Biden also wrote on Twitter: "We can't sit idly by while democracy is in peril-here, in America".

The president's party argued the almost 900-page proposal was critical to democracy, and would safeguard voting access for black voters.

"I'll be honest, the bill doesn't have everything I'd like to see in a voting rights bill". Then, a simple majority could pass the voting reforms that many Democrats view as essential to blocking Republican state-level efforts to limit voting access.

Even if the president had made a stronger effort to use the "bully pulpit" to tout the benefits of the bill - and Biden did give several speeches on the subject - the chances of shifting any Republican votes was slim.

Whether that was ever a possibility is debatable.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said afterwards: "The Republican party has just launched a partisan blockade of a pressing issue here in the United States Senate. And we will continue on in every way we can".

But Republicans said the package was a federal power grab against the authority of individual U.S. states to ensure the integrity of their own elections, designed purely to benefit Democrats.

But Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, called the legislation a "radical proposal" created to "rig" the rules of American elections permanently in the Democrats' favour.

Some Democrats accused Mr Biden of not campaigning for the bill energetically enough.

"He's not absent, but he needs to be a lot more vocal and a lot more out front", said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) on CNN. In the case of the COVID-19 stimulus, Republicans blocked it too. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Senate Democrats indicated that they were open to compromise.

If the filibuster remains intact, a question mark hangs over much of Mr Biden's political agenda. That was an unfair, even outrageous, characterization of the Democrats' proposal, the ambitious For the People Act, not to mention an exercise in projection.



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