Manchin And Sinema Could Scuttle Another Major Democrat Effort, This Time On The Filibuster And Elections


Democrats are barreling toward yet another self-imposed deadline to pass major legislation that could be scuttled by moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. – this time, it is about election bills party leaders argue are necessary to counteract new laws passed by Republican states.

President Biden is expected to lead the push for election legislation in a Tuesday speech in Georgia, which passed one of the most controversial state election laws of 2021.

“He is going to Georgia because Georgia is one of the many states where corrupt acts on the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of elections have taken place at based on the big lie,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week. The “big lie,” comment was a reference to former President Donald Trump’s false claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Manchin and Sinema are expected to support some form of legislation striking at what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y., said Friday are GOP-backed state laws to “suppress the vote.” But the centrist senators are staunch supporters of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to proceed on most bills.

With Republicans almost unanimously aligned against congressional Democrats’ proposals, it is highly unlikely the Senate will be able to pass a bill by Schumer’s deadline to get something done by next week. The majority leader promised this month he would force a vote on potentially altering the filibuster if the GOP blockade holds.

“If Republicans continue to hijack the rules of the chamber to prevent us from protecting our democracy, then the Senate will debate and consider changes to the rules on or before Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” Schumer said.

Schumer said the change would be “to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections.”

The White House said Biden supports this potential change to the filibuster as well.

“If necessary … he supports a rules change to uphold the sacred right of the Americans to vote,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He served in the Senate, as you’ve heard us say, for over three decades.… He wants the Senate to be restored so that it can … do its work for the American people, including protecting the cornerstone of our democracy.”

Schumer has not detailed explicitly what “changes to the Senate rules” he would propose. But it is widely expected to be a limited carveout in the filibuster for election legislation. A full change to the Senate rules would require 67 votes, wh… (Read more)

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