WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol on Thursday, expected to still be a top party priority despite his long-stagnated voting and shock election legislation. facing.
Since taking control of Congress and the White House last year, Democrats have vowed to counter a wave of new state laws fueled by false claims of Donald Trump’s plagiarism making it harder to vote . But after an initial flurry of activity, his efforts have stalled in the narrowly divided Senate, where he lacks the 60 votes to stave off a Republican filibuster.
Biden’s visit is the latest in a concerted effort by Senate Democrats and the White House to revitalize the effort and build support for changing filibuster rules to help push the law forward.
Republicans hail it as a “power grab”.
There are also major holdouts among Senate Democrats. Moderate sense. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema have both said they oppose removing a filibuster and removing the Senate’s 60-vote limit to pass legislation.
He argues that when the Senate changes party controls, such a change could lead to a massive reversal of federal policy. They say the changes will roll back once the Democrats are in the minority, as they will no longer have the ability to block the legislation.
On Tuesday, Biden gave a fiery speech in Atlanta, comparing opponents of the law to racist historical figures and telling lawmakers he would be “judged by history.”
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the chamber floor, “If the right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy, how can we in good conscience allow a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and Can pass voter suppression laws with only a simple majority at the state level, but not allow the United States Senate to do so?”
Democrats have changed their strategy to push the law. They will use existing Senate rules in an attempt to bypass the Republican filibuster, which has prevented them from formally debating the bill on the chamber floor. They hope to force a public showdown that could span several days and echoes of the civil rights fight a generation ago, which led to some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Senate history.
But the new approach does little to address the central problem facing Democrats: they lack Republican support to pass election legislation on a bipartisan basis, but the support of all 50 Democrats to change Senate rules. Neither is. Our.
Republicans are almost unanimous in opposing the law, seeing it as a federal redundancy that would infringe on the states’ abilities to conduct their own elections. And he has reported that Democrats opposed the change in the filibuster that Trump sought as president.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday, “No one in this country is buying a fake hysteria that democracy will die unless the Democrats get full control.”
The democratic package of voting and ethics legislation will herald the biggest change in US elections in a generation, removing barriers to voting in the name of electoral security, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and limiting partisan influence on drawing. Will do The Congressional Districts package would create national election standards that would trample state-level GOP laws. It would also restore the Justice Department’s ability to police election laws in states with a history of discrimination.
For Democrats and Biden, the law is a political imperative. Failure to pass it would break a big campaign promise for black voters, who helped Democrats take control of the White House and Congress, and would come just before the midterm election when a thin Democratic majority is on the line. It would be the second major blow to Biden’s agenda in a month, when Munchkin halted work on a $2 trillion package of the president’s social and environmental initiatives shortly before Christmas.
Schumer initially set January 17 as a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, as a deadline for either passing voting legislation or considering revising the filibuster rules. That vote can still happen.
But under their new strategy, which uses a procedural shortcut, they will be able to actually debate the bill, without being blocked by a filibuster, which Republicans have deployed four times in recent months to stall debate. Is.
The mechanics work like this: The House on Thursday amended an unrelated bill that had already been approved by both houses of Congress, letting Democrats merge two separate voting bills into one. Now that the House has passed that bill, the Senate can debate the measure with a simple majority, bypassing a filibuster. But those Senate Republicans may still block him from holding the final vote.
After debate on the bill, Schumer said Democrats still plan to consider changes to the filibuster.
But Munchkin, who played a major role in writing Democrats’ voting law, dashed hopes on Tuesday, saying any changes should be made with substantial Republican buyouts — even if no Republican senators are willing to sign.
This upset South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Clyburn explicitly questioned the wisdom of seeking bipartisanship, noting that the right to vote was given to newly freed slaves on a party-line vote.
“He is supporting a filibuster of his own bill,” Clyburn said of Manchin. “It’s very worrying for us.”
Associated Press Congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed.