Politics Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill
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Congress has a lengthy to-do list that lawmakers will have to tackle when they return to Washington for the new year after the holiday season. © Samuel Corum/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: (L-R) U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) emerge from the Speakers office after a bipartisan group of Senators and White House officials came to an agreement over the Biden administrations proposed infrastructure plan at the U.S. Capitol on June 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Days before the anniversary of the, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will vote soon on easing filibuster rules in an effort to advance that Democrats say is needed to protect America's democracy.
, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider” the rule changes by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition to their elections law package.
Manchin floats modest Senate rules changes
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday night floated smaller changes to the Senate rules that would stop short of the filibuster reforms being pushed for by many of his Democratic colleagues.Manchin, coming out of a meeting with Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats involved in the negotiations, didn't pledge to vote for any specific rules reforms but appeared open to smaller changes."I think the filibuster needs to stay in place, any way shape or form that we can do it," Manchin said, asked about keeping the current rule that requires most legislation to get 60 votes to advance through the Senate.
“Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process," Schumer wrote, “and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.”
Thehas been stalled in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, blocked by a Republican-led filibuster with Democrats unable to mount the 60 votes needed to advance it toward passage.
So far Democrats have been unable to agree among themselves over potential changes to the Senate rules to reduce the 60-vote hurdle, despite months of private negotiations.
Two holdout Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have tried to warn their party off changes to the Senate rules, arguing that if and when Republicans take majority control of the chamber they can then use the lower voting threshold to advance bills Democrats strongly oppose.
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President Joe Biden's fresh vow to save democracy faces an immediate test at home and abroad this week, with a long-shot voting rights push and the most critical US diplomacy with Russia since the Cold War. © DREW ANGERER/AFP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden's election victory.
President Joe Biden hasinto the debate — a former longtime senator who largely stands by existing rules but is also under enormous political pressure to break the logjam on the voting legislation.
Voting rights advocates warn that Republican-led states are passing restrictiveloyal to the former President, Donald Trump, in ways that could subvert future elections.
Trump urged his followers last Jan. 6 tofor his presidency, and a mob stormed the Capitol trying to stop Congress from certifying the state election tallies for Biden. It was the worst domestic attack on a seat of government in U.S. history.
How the Senaterules would be changed remains under discussion.
It seems certain that a full-scale end of the filibuster is out of reach for Democrats. Changing the rules would need all 50 votes, and Manchin and Sinema have made it clear they are unwilling to go that far.
Georgia’s voting rights advocates ask Biden: Where have you been?
The president made a forceful case to revamp the Senate rules and pass election laws. But his base has grown skeptical.After working 70 hours a week, leading bus tours across the state and rallying voters to the polls last year, Brown, who co-founded Black Voters Matter, said she was fed up with the Democrats she helped elect. As Biden called on the Senate to get rid of the filibuster in order to pass voting rights and elections legislation in Atlanta on Tuesday, she stayed away.
Senators are wary of a sweeping overhaul after seeing the fallout that came from Democrats ending the filibuster for some judicial and executive branch nominees. Once Republicans took power, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader, did away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations — ushering three Trump-picked conservative justices to the high court.
But despite their reluctance on major filibuster changes, Manchin and Sinema both support the election legislation. In fact, Manchin helped craft the latest package in an unsuccessful effort to win Republican support. Now the two Democrats' colleagues are working on ways to change the filibuster so at least this legislation could pass.
Private talks with senators have been underway for weeks and continued during the holiday break.
Ideas include forcing senators to hold the floor, old-fashioned style, rather than simply raise their filibuster objections — a scene that would have echoes of the 1950s and 1960s when Southern segregationists filibustered civil rights legislation.
Other ideas are also being considered, and some Democrats have noted that Sinema has mentioned she is open to hearing the arguments as part of a full debate.
Republicans are so worried Democrats will end the filibuster that McConnell has taken other actions to try to keep Manchin and Sinema close so they don't join the rest of their party in making any drastic changes.
One Republican, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, argued on Monday that ending the filibuster would turn the Senate into a “Lord of the Flies"-style institution where majority rules, no matter what.
“It is absurd and dangerous to the institution itself,” said Lee in a statement. He said Schumer and his “disastrous plan” must be stopped.
Biden says he's "not sure" about voting bills' future after Sinema reiterates opposition to rule change .
Biden met with Senate Democrats on Thursday.Her remarks come moments ahead of Mr. Biden's lunchtime meeting with Senate Democrats in which he encouraged lawmakers to overhaul Senate rules to allow the voting bills to pass with a simple majority, rather than 60 votes. Following that meeting, the president told reporters he hopes they can pass the legislation but he's "not certain" they can.