Defeat for Joe Biden as Republicans block voting rights reform Bill
Jun 23 2021
Democrats, including U.S. President Joe Biden, said they would persist in their efforts to expand ballot access.
While Manchin'svote on the motion to proceed Tuesday willgive an indication on where he personally stands on the larger piece of legislation, it doesn't change the fact that Democrats remain 10 GOP allies short to begin debate, let alone vote, on the bill.
"The bill that's going to be debated, including Senator Manchin's changes, would address. numerous concerns and issues that I've just discussed", Obama said.
Advocates say the bill would have been the most far-reaching election measure since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Writing for the Washington Post Tuesday evening, award-winning reporter Peter Stevenson writes that the Democrats are running out of options after the Republicans blocked the debate on the voting rights bill. "We're not going to kill the filibuster, but we're going to reduce the number of votes you need to stop a debate from 60 to 55".
In remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Schumer said, "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 fight's not over", she said after the vote. Mr. Manchin was also not on board with the legislation, citing a lack of bipartisanship, but joined his fellow Democrats at the eleventh hour, after some of his suggested modifications (on voter ID and gerrymandering) were accepted. Congress also can enact legislation to ensure that presidential elections aren't marred by corruption or racial discrimination.
The president's party argued the almost 900-page proposal was critical to democracy, and would safeguard voting access for black voters.
"The Senate is no obstacle to voting laws done the right way", and "the Senate is only an obstacle when the policy is flawed and the process is rotten".
The bill would gut numerous Republican-advanced restrictions enacted in some states this year.
While speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Schumer criticized the GOP and alleged former President Donald Trump's claims about the November 3 election "threatens to envelop one of America's major political parties". With only 49 Democrats and not a single Republican expected to support the For the People Act, a version of which has already passed the House, the bill is all but dead.
Ultimately, it does little to deliver confidence to Democrats that making a deal with one or two Republicans like Murkowski or Collins is worth it if they can't deliver the ten votes necessary to break the filibuster.
Obama made clear that the bill being considered doesn't have "everything I would like to see" in a voting rights package, but said it is an important step to ensuring the future elections are fair. Democrats were forced to use budget reconciliation to pass the bill.
"He's not absent, but he needs to be a lot more vocal and a lot more out front", said Jamaal Bowman, a NY congressman, on CNN. Democrats themselves used the filibuster to block Republican bills during Mr Trump's presidency.
If the filibuster remains intact, a question mark hangs over much of Mr Biden's political agenda.
Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow alluded to possible legal action against Republican-led statutes in states, saying: "We have an attorney general and a (Justice Department) Civil Rights Division and a commitment from the president of the United States".