Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pledged that Democrats are prepared to move forward without Republicans to protect voting rights, should Senate GOP’ers opt to continue their obstruction of substantive pieces of the Democratic agenda. Recently, Democratic leaders rolled out the Freedom to Vote Act, a new piece of legislation that — like its forebear, the For the People Act — contains a raft of provisions to make voting in federal elections more accessible. Among other moves, the provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act “would make it easier to register to vote, make Election Day a public holiday, ensure states have early voting for federal elections and allow all voters to request mail-in ballots,” as explained by CNN.
This week in the Senate, Schumer commented as follows regarding the voting rights push:
‘Senator Manchin this week is making an effort, a good-faith effort, to reach colleagues on the other side of the aisle to win support of the Freedom to Vote Act… We are committed to finding common ground, if there is common ground to be found. We look forward to hearing what changes Republicans might want to make. And if Republicans engage earnestly and honestly, we will work with them… It is my intention to hold a vote for the Freedom to Vote Act here on the Senate floor. If Republicans are unwilling to move forward, Democrats will have to move on our own.’
Watch Schumer’s comments below:
.@SenSchumer: "It is my intention to hold a vote for the Freedom to Vote Act here on the Senate floor. If Republicans are unwilling to move forward, Democrats will have to move on our own. Inaction from Republicans on voting rights is not an excuse to do nothing." pic.twitter.com/hWQFYu5Lf0
— The Hill (@thehill) September 21, 2021
Filibuster rules in the Senate could make progress towards protecting voting rights especially difficult. At present, these rules demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward, including to a final vote, on most legislation. These provisions mean that most successful legislation has to be at least somewhat bipartisan in nature — but most Senate Republicans have seemed to prove that they’re not exactly interested in sweeping bipartisan cooperation with Democrats. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is one of those involved in the effort to enact voting rights protections, said on MSNBC over the weekend that Democrats are going to “do everything we can to make the case” for the Freedom to Vote Act and “go to the procedures if we need to” — meaning examine potential changes to the filibuster rules.
— The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@TheSundayShow) September 19, 2021