President Biden is remaining undeterred after the recent dismal outcome in the Senate for a push by Democratic leaders to get federal protections for voting rights passed. These protections would respond to recent moves by a slew of Republican state officials who’ve restricted access to the electoral process, despite no legitimate evidence ever emerging of any kind of sweeping, systematic election integrity issue. The restrictions that Republican officials have pushed include new limits on the usage of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, other hurdles around mail-in voting, and more — all of which together stands poised to make voting more difficult.
Democratic leaders prepared a proposed rules change in the Senate that would have allowed the voting rights proposals to go forward. Ordinarily, the 100-member chamber’s filibuster rules demand that at least 60 Senators agree before moving forward with most bills, but under the proposed change, members of the Republican minority wishing to keep the voting rights initiatives from getting passed would have had to continuously talk to keep up their opposition. Once they stopped, the process would have moved forward. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted against the proposed rules change, sinking it, since the current party breakdown means all Democrats would have had to agree.
Biden commented as follows:
‘At the core of our democracy is a basic principle: the right to vote, and to have that vote counted. That principle was assaulted one year ago, when a violent mob attempted a coup seeking to overturn the will of the people. And today, in state after state, Republican state legislatures are engaged in an unprecedented effort to suppress the sacred right to vote and subvert the American bedrock of free and fair elections. In the face of those threats, I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred. My Administration will never stop fighting to ensure that the heart and soul of our democracy — the right to vote — is protected at all costs. We will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.’
EMILY's List: "We believe the decision by Sen. Sinema is not only a blow to voting rights and our electoral system but also to the work of all of the partners who supported her victory and her constituents."
"We will no longer be able to endorse Sen. Sinema moving forward."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 20, 2022
Biden added that the administration “will explore every measure and use every tool at our disposal to stand up for democracy,” explaining that Vice President Kamala Harris “will continue to lead this effort, as she has for the past year.” Meanwhile, opposition to Sinema is growing — the Arizona Democratic Party released a statement saying that they “were counting on Senator Sinema to fight for Arizona, find a path forward, and protect our democracy, but on this issue she has fallen short,” adding: “Right now, Arizona is ground-zero for the modern-day fight for voting rights, and we don’t have any time to waste.” Although Sinema isn’t up for re-election until 2024, a push for a primary challenger is growing, and in the meantime, a recent survey revealed that eight percent of Arizona Democratic respondents had a favorable view of her. Just eight percent!
A furious Sanders on Manchin/Sinema: "It's not just this vote. These are people who I think have undermined the President of the United States. They have forced us to go through five months of discussions which have gotten absolutely nowhere."
— Kate Riga (@Kate_Riga24) January 20, 2022