Senate Action To Protect Voting Rights Revealed By Schumer

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In a newly available note to fellow Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted that Democratic leaders “will continue to fight for voting rights” amid Republican obstruction of efforts to get bills including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act through the Senate. Only one Republican Senator has expressed support for either measure, but because of the Senate’s filibuster rules, which demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward on most bills, more than one Republican Senator would need to get onboard in order for the measures to actually move forward.

The one show of Republican support is Lisa Murkowski’s backing of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Referring to that bill and its accompaniment, the Freedom to Vote Act, Schumer pointedly commented as follows:

‘Sadly, our Republican colleagues have blocked Senate consideration of these bills at every turn, preventing the world’s greatest deliberative body from even having a simple debate about the merits of these critical measures. But just because Republicans will not join us doesn’t mean Democrats should stop fighting. This is too important. Even if it means going at it alone, we will continue to fight for voting rights and work to find an alternative path forward to defend the most fundamental liberty we have as citizens. To that end, a number of our colleagues — with my full support — have been discussing ideas for how to restore the Senate to protect our democracy. These conversations will continue in earnest this coming week. Despite all that confronts us, we must continue our fight to protect our democracy.’

Check out his remarks below:

Changing the filibuster rules in the Senate would require every Democratic Senator to support the move, because — factoring in Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as a tiebreaker — Democrats only control a simple majority of the chamber’s votes, and that’s it. Schumer’s reference to deliberations about ways to “restore the Senate” could refer to potential changes to the filibuster rules, although a couple of key holdouts, including Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), have continued to support the filibuster as it stands in the Senate.