Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently issued a warning to Conservatives as well as Dem defenders to the filibuster in advance of upcoming votes on Dem’s election bills. Schumer, D.N.Y. made these comments shortly after the House opened floor debate last week on piece legislation that combined two major Democrat-backed election bills. The senator will vote on both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (the Freedom to Vote Act) and whether to remove the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster, if they are blocked by Republicans, as they are likely to.
“As we discuss these measures, Senate will face the critical question: Will the members of the chamber do what is necessary in order to pass these bills and get them closer to President’s desk?” Schumer stated. “Today, we have just taken the first steps that will place everyone, everybody on the record.”
Democrats claim the two election bills are needed to address GOP-passed red state election laws that suppress minority votes. Schumer accused the state-level Republicans “of trying to take away vote from younger, brown, elderly and minority voters.”
According to the majority leader, Republicans will have to choose which side they are on when they vote on election legislation in the Senate. This could be protecting democracy or approving Donald Trump’s big lie implicitly.
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Republicans claim that Democrats’ election bills are not just a solution to a problem but a massive federal takeover of state-administered electoral elections.
“The Democratic Leader is using fake panic about 2021 state laws in order to justify a power grab that he started floating in 2019” Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week.
“10 days early voting in Delaware and excuse-only absentees is fine. But 17 days early voting in Georgia and no-excuse absentees is racist Jim Crow.” McConnell also added. “The Senate Democratic Leader pretends that it is a civil right crisis that Georgia has enshrined greater early voting and absentee balloting than any state in New York.
Schumer’s antifilibuster campaign is doomed. It will be opposed by all Republicans and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), doubled their opposition to the “nuclear option step” last week.
The Senate has the power to set a new precedent by using the nuclear option.
Schumer could use it either to eliminate the filibuster completely or to create a carve-out for election-related bills. He has not yet revealed his plans, but he did promise that there would be a vote.
Schumer could also attempt to change the Senate rules in order to end the filibuster. However, this would require a threshold of 67 votes. If Democrats want to “move ahead on our own”, as Schumer claims they will, they will need to resort to the nuclear option.
Democrats used the nuclear option to lower the filibuster threshold for executive nominees and federal judges from 60 to 51 under former President Barack Obama. To do the same thing for Supreme Court nominees, Republicans used the nuclear option of former President Donald Trump.
Schumer doesn’t have enough votes to pass the third iteration on the nuclear option legislation, because he doesn’t have all 50 members on his caucus. He brings it up because he is frustrated with moderates that are preventing Democrats from passing their huge agenda with a slim majority.
Schumer stated Tuesday that “When this chamber faces a question like this… you don’t just slide it off of the table and say, ‘nevermind.’” “Win, lose, or draw members of the chamber were elected to debate… and to vote… The public has the right to know where each senator stands on a topic as sacred as protecting our democracy.”
Later Tuesday, Democrats will hold a caucus meeting in which they are expected to make last-ditch efforts to press Sinema and Manchin to end the filibuster.
However, Sinema and Manchin aren’t all Democrats who are in the firing line for Schumer’s filibuster vote.
Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) faces a difficult reelection race and has not taken a firm position on the controversial topic.
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