Democrats failed to get the For The People Act through a Senate test vote on Tuesday after every single Republican voted against the bill that has been called a ‘power grab’ and a bid to orchestrate the ‘federal takeover of elections’.
All 50 Democrats voted in favor, including key swings Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. And all 50 Republicans voted against beginning debate on a revised ‘For the People Act.’
‘Today every single Democratic senator stood together in the fight to protect the right to vote in America,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote, also vowing to explore ‘every last one of our options.’
‘Voter suppression has become part of the official platform of the Republican Party’, he added, and slammed Donald Trump’s ‘big lie’ on election fraud.
Vice President Kamala Harris, on the Hill to make another tie-breaking vote, stuck around and chaired the debate and vote. She’s been tasked by President Joe Biden to lead the administration’s voting rights push.
Tuesday’s result was a foregone conclusion with party leaders digging in their feet on the legislation that would have been the basis of the sweeping voting reforms.
It was a bid to counteract Republican voter reform bills across the country that President Biden has compared to ‘Jim Crow’.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ripped the proposal calling it a ‘transparently partisan’ effort that shows the left’s ‘disdain’ for Americans.
‘Many Democrats would pass [H.R.1] with the slimmest possible majority, even after its companion faced bipartisan opposition over in the House,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor Tuesday.
Vice President Kamala Harris, on the Hill to make another tie-breaking vote, stuck around and chaired the debate and vote
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said voting rights legislation was needed thanks to the ‘big lie’ that was pushed by former President Donald Trump
The vote to begin debate on voting rights legislation was split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Sixty votes were needed to break a GOP-led filibuster
‘What a craven political calculation. What a way to show your disdain for the American people’s choices,’ the Kentucky Republican added.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham called it ‘the biggest power-grab in modern American history.’
For two days straight, Schumer used the coming vote as a way to bash former President Donald Trump.
‘Donald Trump, fresh off a resounding loss in the 2020 presidential election, cried foul and lied — lied — that the election was stolen from him, like a petulant child,’ the New York Democrat said.
‘There is a rot at the center of the modern Republican Party,’ he continued. ‘Donald Trump’s big lie has spread like a cancer and threatens to envelop one of America’s major political parties.’
‘Even worse, it has poisoned our democracy, eroded faith in our elections, which is so detrimental to the future faith people need to have in our democracy,’ Schumer said. ‘And of course, it became the match that lit a wildfire of Republican voter suppression laws sweeping across the country. Because of one man’s lie, Republicans are now doing the dastardly act of taking away voting from millions of Americans, making it much harder for them to vote, and many, many will not.’
He repeated the sentiment on Twitter and added: ‘Republicans claim they’re making it easier to vote and harder to cheat in an election. But in reality, they are making it harder to vote and easier to steal an election.’
Without filibuster reform, Democrats need 10 Republicans to defect in order to get legislation passed in the U.S. Senate.
Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to override a filibuster.
On Tuesday morning, after a Monday meeting with President Joe Biden, Sinema announced she was against getting rid of it.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (left) has been working on a proposal that could get GOP support and voted in favor of starting debate on a voting rights package, something that President Joe Biden (right) backs
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor Tuesday that Democrats’ voting rights bill is ‘transparently partisan’ and shows the left’s ‘disdain’ for Americans
‘My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy,’ Sinema wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post. ‘The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.’
Sinema urged her colleagues to see that if the filibuster is revoked, it could be used against them in the future when Republicans once again hold a majority in the Senate.
But Sinema expressed that she was against using the filibuster on an early procedural vote, like the one senators took Tuesday, to merely open debate.
She welcomed full debate on the voting ill ‘so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences.’
Manchin, who previously said he was against H.R. 1, the House-passed voting rights bill, voted yes to start debate on an amended version he’s been working on.
Manchin suggested making voter registration automatic, setting Election Day as a holiday, requiring at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections and reducing partisan gerrymandering.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would continue to push for voting rights legislation even if a test vote fails in the Senate Tuesday. She also said Manchin’s compromise idea was a ‘step forward’
But he also said voter ID regulations should be stricter – a measure most of his Democratic colleagues oppose, though some prominent voting rights activists have softened on.
Stacey Abrams, a former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate credited for her state’s voting rights push, slapped down the idea that Democrats were against voters having to prove their identity.
‘That’s one of the fallacies of Republican talking points that have been deeply disturbing,’ Abrams said last week on CNN. ‘No one has ever objected to having to prove who you are to vote. It’s been part of our nation’s history since the inception of voting.’
Abrams expressed that she’s been against Republican-pushed voter ID provisions that would restrict voting – such as limiting the kinds of ID to only driver’s licenses and not, for example, student IDs.
The Manchin proposal, however, is less strict than most backed by Republicans in recent years.
A White House official said during the meeting Monday, Biden ‘expressed his sincere appreciation for Senator Manchin’s efforts to achieve reform.’
‘The President conveyed that he sees voting rights as one of the most urgent issues facing our nation during his administration, and made it clear how important he thinks it is that the Senate find a path forward on this issue,’ the official continued in a statement on the meeting between the two.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Manchin’s proposal a ‘step forward’ during Monday’s press briefing.
‘We don’t expect there to be a magical 10 votes. I’m not suggesting that. But just two weeks ago, there were questions about whether Democrats would be aligned,’ she added.
‘If the vote is unsuccessful tomorrow, we suspect it will prompt a new conversation about the path forward and we’ll see where that goes,’ Psaki predicted.