Nearly 10 months into President Joe Biden’s term, Democrats have not been able to advance any legislation due to Republican filibustering. Senate Republicans did it again on Wednesday, blocking a major voting bill that would have allowed automatic same-day voter registration and made Election Day a holiday. The Freedom to Vote Act would also give states flexibility in implementing some provisions like early voting, while offering protection from federal election records and securing nonpartisan state and local election officials from outside interference. The measure had the support of all 50 caucusing Democrats on Wednesday after the party scaled back an earlier, more expansive bill to win the backing of centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
A Senate vote in June to advance the broader For The People Act voting rights bill was split 50-50 along party lines, falling short of the 60 needed to advance. All 50 Democrats supported the new bill, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) changed his vote to “no” in order to allow him to request another vote in the future, a common procedural maneuver. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said his party would oppose the measure. “It is my hope and anticipation that none of us will vote for this latest iteration of Democratic efforts to take over how every American votes all over the country,” he said on Tuesday.
McConnell’s prediction came true. Despite the Democratic majority, the 49-51 vote on the procedural motion was once again short of the 60 needed to advance the legislation to the next stage, marking the second time this year Republicans have prevented a Democratic-backed voting bill from moving forward.
Not 1 Senate Republican voted to even debate voting rights.
They fear an active and inclusive electorate.
Hold them accountable!
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) October 20, 2021
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the Republican who has been most willing to engage with Democrats on voting rights, explained her vote to block the bill earlier, saying she was more interested in the House-passed John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
ZERO Republicans voted for the For the People Act. ZERO voted for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
There’s no way that ten Republicans will support the Freedom to Vote Act.
The only way to protect voting rights and our democracy is to end the filibuster.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) October 20, 2021
Angry Twitter users once again took the opportunity to demand that Congress abolish the filibuster once and for all.
BREAKING: In the least shocking news of the day, Senate Republicans have blocked debate on the #FreedomToVoteAct. This was expected.
Again, this wasn't the vote itself. It was a vote to HAVE A DEBATE about the bill. This is why we need to #AbolishTheFilibuster.
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) October 20, 2021
Good morning and Happy Hump Day to everyone except for Senate Republicans, who are all expected to vote against voting rights today.
We MUST end the filibuster.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) October 20, 2021
Not a tough call, if you ask me. If democracy topples, of what possible use will the filibuster be? And, make no mistake, if we let the filibuster block legislation to protect voting rights and preserve electoral integrity, democracy will be on the chopping block. https://t.co/Rh0EPCgLaE
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) October 20, 2021
ABC: Senate Republicans are expected to defeat—for the second time this year—a Democratic measure aimed at enacting sweeping federal election law changes, a move that is certain to increase pressure on the majority to change the chamber's filibuster rule.#AbolishTheFilibuster pic.twitter.com/p8cdhawSoK
— LA Resisting From GA! #VoteBlueIn22 🌊🌎💙 (@LALewman) October 20, 2021