Last Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked the electoral reform bill proposed by Democrats from moving forward. The rejection dealt a crushing blow to Democrats and President Joe Biden’s priority program.
GOP Deals Knockout Punch On ‘For The People Act’
In a rare occurrence, Democrats showed up unified to support the bill, known as the ‘For The People Act”. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) managed to get Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on board for the procedural vote.
However, even as the Democrats voted in full, their total 50 votes fell short of the needed 60. The Republican Party Senators also voted in force, registering a similar 50 votes. As a result, the measure died on the spot and will not advance to the floor.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote in her role as President of the Senate. She announced the final votes 50-50, with the Democrats losing. Biden tasked Harris with leading the efforts to get the electoral reform bill passed.
Schumer Calls Out Republicans
Immediately afterward, Chuck Schumer took the floor to blast Republicans. “Once again, Senate Republicans have signed their names in the ledger of history alongside Donald Trump, the big lie, and voter suppression to enduring disgrace,” he said.
“We have several serious options for how to reconsider this issue and advance legislation to combat voter suppression,” Schumer remarked.
In addition, he said that they will explore options to get the bill moving again. “Voting rights are too important and too fundamental. This concerns the very core of our democracy and what we are about as a nation so we will not let it go.
We will not let it die. This voter suppression cannot stand and we are going to work tirelessly to see that it does not stand,” he added.
Republicans Blast Democrats’ Blatant Power Grab
Meanwhile, Republicans accused Democrats of using the electoral reform bill to blatantly grab power. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said they won’t support the bill.
“What this is really about is an effort of the federal government to take over the way we conduct elections in this country. It is a solution in search of a problem. And so finally today we will put an end to it here in the Senate,” he said.
However, Democrats continued to insist that the country needs a federal response to efforts made by 14 red states across the country. There, Republicans enacted laws that critics say that curb minority voter who tend to support Democrats.
Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) wanted to continue the debate. “What kind of Congress would we be in the whole history of Congresses if seeing that discussion out there we refuse to even debate the matter in here?
Who are we and how are we to hide in a moment like this?” he asked his colleagues. He added that Senators should do their jobs. “Resist the easy route, the temptation to hide behind Senate procedure, and let’s have a principled conversation in front of the American people about voting rights,” Warnock added.
Democrat Manchin Joins The Democrats
Earlier Tuesday, Schumer announced that Manchin, the lone Democrat holdout of the electoral reform bill, will join them. While symbolic of a Democrat unified front, the gesture remained empty as they proceeded to lose the vote.
Schumer announced his agreement with Manchin that allowed him to offer an amendment to make changes to the basic reform bill. This is dependent if the Democratic majority gets the needed 60 votes to start debate on the bill. Manchin opposed changing the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires a majority vote for a bill to proceed.
Harris, speaking to reporters after losing the votes, talked to the media. She said “when we’re talking about the right to vote, it is not a Republican concern or a Democratic concern, it is an American concern. This is about the American people’s right to vote, unfettered.” Harris then added that “the fight is not over.”
Watch Forbes Breaking News’ video reporting that Senate Republican leaders unanimously reject Democrats’ electoral reform bill In advance of vote:
Do you agree with the Republican response to the Democrat’s federal election reform bill? In addition, why do you think the GOP opposes this bill?
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