Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says that the Senate will soon be voting on legislation to shore up protections for voting rights at the federal level. Schumer laid out the approximate timeline in a letter to Senate Democrats this week, indicating that consideration of the bills by the Senate should be expected to take place in the near future or “immediately” after the start of the Senate’s next work period. At present, the two main legislative pushes on deck include the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, each of which would help protect voting rights in unique ways.
Schumer wrote as follows:
‘[We] must also continue our steadfast fight to protect free and fair elections. To that end, the Senate should be prepared to soon consider the Freedom to Vote Act, as well as soon-to-be introduced legislation to repair the Voting Rights Act. This may occur this work period or immediately after the start of the next. We hope that all of our colleagues will join us in good faith in advancing solutions to ensure all Americans have their voice heard in their democracy.’
Check out Schumer’s letter in full by clicking on the post below:
.@SenSchumer tells Democrats in a new letter: "Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period. We do not have the luxury of waiting until October 18th." pic.twitter.com/myC3V5i3fP
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 4, 2021
The Freedom to Vote Act is a successor of sorts to the For the People Act. Unlike the earlier iteration of this particular legislative initiative, the Freedom to Vote Act has the support of every member of the Senate Democratic caucus, including the infamously conservative Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The problem, though, is that Senate filibuster rules currently demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward with most bills, meaning that the majority of successful legislation must be at least nominally bipartisan. Republicans have shown little indication of supporting these voting rights initiatives, although Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) did sign on as a co-sponsor for a previous version of the bill named after the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of those prominently pushing the Freedom to Vote Act, supports changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow for passing the bill with a simple majority of the chamber’s votes. During a recent appearance on MSNBC, she said 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. Read about what the Freedom to Vote Act would do if enacted at this link.