At a public event this Monday, Yolanda Renee King — a granddaughter of the late civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — called out so-called moderates including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for their allegiance to the Senate’s filibuster rules over voting rights. Sure, Sinema and Manchin have expressed support for the substance of certain proposals for new voting rights protections at the federal level — proposals that are set to be dealt with in the Senate this week — but they remain apparently unwilling to undertake the procedural steps that are necessary to actually get these protections passed.
— Laura Packard (@lpackard) January 16, 2022
The 100-member Senate’s filibuster rules demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators before proceeding on most bills, including those dealing with voting rights. With the current party breakdown in the chamber, the Republican minority is thereby able to stop the Democratic majority from getting these bills passed, even if a simple majority of the chamber’s votes would be in favor. Sinema and Manchin continue to stick by the filibuster rules, but as King commented:
‘Fighting for voting rights is about fighting for the right to participate in democracy, a movement my grandfather led many decades ago. But it’s also about all the other issues that affect all of us: climate justice, reproductive justice, LGBTQIA+ justice, and so much more. We will not stop organizing to get this done. But, for all the elected leaders out there who are tweeting, posting, and celebrating my grandfather, Dr. King, today, my message to you is simple: do not celebrate; legislate. The Senate must do the right thing when this legislation comes to a vote tomorrow. Senator Sinema, Senator Manchin: our future hinges on your decision, and history will remember what choice you make.’
Check out King’s comments below:
Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calls out Sens. Manchin and Sinema during remarks on voting rights.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 17, 2022
Recently, Sinema and Manchin both reiterated their support for the Senate’s filibuster rules as they stand. As Manchin self-confidently put it: “Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel onto the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart – especially when one party controls both Congress and the White House. As such, and as I have said many times before, I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.” The problem is that it’s not “political division” that’s solely to blame for tension in the American political environment — it’s (generally speaking) people like Donald Trump and his Republican allies in state governments who’ve seemed all-too-willing to impose suppressive new restrictions around the electoral process. When one party is (largely) trying to undercut the very foundation of democracy in this country, it’s not the time for talk of “bipartisanship” above seemingly just about all else.
“The tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting.”
— Martin Luther King Jr, 1963
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) January 17, 2022