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Schumer Says Senate Will Vote on Filibuster Change

Schumer Says Senate Will Vote on Filibuster Change

In an effort to make good on their promises to take up voting rights legislation this month, Senate Democrats are linking the upcoming anniversary of the January 6th  attack on the U.S. Capitol with what they see as increasing threats to the right to vote enacted by various Republican state legislatures. The Democrats say last year’s insurrection was propelled by Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him and that election fraud was rampant, allegations that spurred Republican state legislatures to implement new voting restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has vowed the Senate will move forward on voting rights legislation and vote on changing the rules of the upper chamber by January 17th if Republicans once again block the bill.

Senate Democrats argue passing The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would, among other things, ensure that states have early voting, make Election Day a public holiday, and secure the availability of mail-in voting, are necessary measures to combat the actions taken by some state legislatures.

 

Senators have been discussing two different approaches to altering Senate rules: either setting up a “talking filibuster” that would give the minority the ability to block action on legislation or creating an exception that would provide a path for Democrats to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

The GOP is expected to once again reject the bills, arguing they’re a form of federal overreach. In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them to advance the legislation because of the 60-vote threshold required under Senate rules. But uniform Republican opposition has led voting rights advocates to urge Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster or implement an exception for voting rights legislation.

If a talking filibuster rule is established and a group of senators launched a filibuster, the Senate would be in session 24/7 — no weekends off. There would be a mechanism for a 60-vote threshold to cut off that extended debate period. It’s unclear what route Schumer will take, and discussions with leadership and a small group of Senate Democrats, including centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA), continue this week.

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