Filibuster ‘Exemption’ Proposed To Sidestep GOP & Save Democracy


In Georgia, it is against the law to give a glass of water to a voter standing in line for up to 10 hours. This even though the blame for the long lines falls directly on the GOP’s necks. Republicans in 23 states have written 253 laws to interfere with voter participation. So what are the Democrats going to do?

The House passed the For the People Act along party lines on March 3. If passed, The Spokesman Review reported:

‘It would expand automatic and same-day voter registration along with mail-in and early voting. It also would require states to establish independent redistricting committees to redraw congressional districts and impose new campaign finance regulations, among numerous other changes.’

It is hard to understand why some of the Democrats oppose the filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is intent upon breaking the Senate by misusing the filibuster to freeze all attempts to legislate. When he was the majority leader, he accomplished his mission by living up to his self-imposed nickname “The Grim Reaper,” killing off the House’s bills before they could reach the Senate. But things are changing.

The way the Senate works now is that most legislation requires 60 votes to pass. Given that the Republicans are in lockstep against anything the Democrats try to legislate, that is not going to happen. Occasionally, one or two brave Republicans will cross the line, but their votes are not enough. The result remains the same, no legislation.

The Republicans went too far by forbidding water for voters. This was the last straw for some of the most conservative Democrats. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) is the third in line in the Senate. Friday, she said that she would be open to overturning the filibuster by creating an exception for election reform. She had been against this action, so what changed?

The Washington Senator released a statement that read:

‘The For the People Act is essential to making sure our democracy stays a democracy, and I will consider every legislative option, including an exemption to the filibuster, to ensure it can be signed into law.’

Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) also released a statement. In it, he attacked the Democrats’ move:

‘[The bill] would federalize our election process and strip states of election authorities guaranteed to them by the Constitution.’

‘This bill would mandate a one-size-fits-all process that removes that constitutional authority from states and hands it over to Washington bureaucrats. If passed, this bill would politicize the bipartisan Federal Elections Commission, restrict political speech and insert further potential for fraud into elections across the country immediately after an election cycle in which more than one-third of Americans already did not trust their vote counted.’

Spokesperson for the anti-filibuster progressive group Battle Born Collective, Hannah Simpson, wrote an email that read:

‘We appreciate and are encouraged by Senator Murray’s leadership on direly-needed democracy reforms, including the For the People Act, and her recognition that the Jim Crow filibuster cannot and should not come in the way of Americans’ ability to participate in our democracy.’

If passed, this bill would completely overhaul voter rights. Many have called the Republicans’ attempts Jim Crow Two. After all, the bill would be the most significant voter rights bill in a generation.

Murray has a reputation of being a thoughtful and careful politician, and she was unwilling to show her cards regarding the “nuclear option.” That would completely remove the filibuster. However, her issues are very common sense. She supports Washington mass transit and making daylight savings time permanent, MyNorthwest reported.

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