Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate raceHundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fireRomney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rightsMORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday vowed to move forward with a likely doomed effort to change Senate filibuster rules as part of an effort to pass voting rights legislation.
Schumer speaking at a National Action Network event with Al Sharpton, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDefense bill sets up next fight over military justice Harry, Meghan push family leave with annual holiday cardOvernight Energy & Environment New York Democrats go after ‘peaker’ plantsMORE (D-N.Y.) and others acknowledged that the bid to change the legislative filibuster is a “tough fight” but that he and other Democrats would push ahead.
The Democratic leader’s remarks come after Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi suggests filibuster supporters ‘dishonor’ MLK’s legacy on voting rightsSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdownMartin Luther King III: Biden, senators need to use same energy to pass voting rights as they did for infrastructureMORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPelosi suggests filibuster supporters ‘dishonor’ MLK’s legacy on voting rightsSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdownMartin Luther King III: Biden, senators need to use same energy to pass voting rights as they did for infrastructureMORE (D-Ariz.) reiterated last week that they don’t support changing the Senate rule, which requires 60 votes for most bills to advance.
“I’m going to down to Washington and we are going to debate voting rights. We are going to debate it, and, in the Senate, you know we need 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster … but since we only have 50 Democrats in our razor-thin majority, the only path forward on this important issue is to change the rules to bypass the filibuster,” Schumer said.
He added, in reference to Sinema and Manchin, that “there are two Democrats who don’t want to make that happen. But the fight is not over, far from it.”
Schumer’s comments come as the Senate is expected to formally start a debate on Tuesday on the voting legislation. The bill combines the Freedom to Vote Act, which overhauls federal elections and campaign finance laws, with the John LewisJohn LewisPelosi suggests filibuster supporters ‘dishonor’ MLK’s legacy on voting rightsThe arc of the moral universe will bend toward justicebut only if we pull itSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdownMORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, which expands and strengthens the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Democrats are using a procedural loophole to start debate on the bill without needing to overcome the 60-vote threshold.
Instead of trying to formally end debate, which would require Democrats to win over 10 GOP senators to clear the 60-vote hurdle, some Democrats are publicly floating that they should try to make Republicans mount a talking filibuster, where they would need to hold the floor to prevent the voting bill from passing with a simple majority.
“There’s other paths that we could take where we just- the 60-vote threshold is only if you want to limit debate, we could do longer debate … and have a simple majority,” Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeatThis week: Democrats set for showdown on voting rights, filibusterDemocrats see good chance of Garland prosecuting TrumpMORE (D-Va.), who made a similar pitch to a small group of reporters late last week, told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
But Schumer is indicating that he intends to follow through on his pledge to force a vote on trying to change the filibuster on the Senate floor. Democrats expect that the voting rights bill will face a 60-vote hurdle on Wednesday, when Republicans will use the filibuster to keep it from moving forward.
Once that happens Schumer says that he will bring up a rules change on the Senate floor.
“If the Senate Republicans choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote, as we expect them to, the Senate will consider and vote on changing the Senate rules,” he said during a Senate floor speech late last week.
Democrats haven’t yet outlined what their rules change proposal will look like.
They have floated implementing a talking filibuster that would allow opponents to delay a bill for as long as they can hold the floor, but after that it would be able to pass by a simple majority. They are also discussing creating a carve-out that would exempt voting legislation from the 60-vote hurdle but leave it in place for other issues.
But none of those rules can be enacted unless Schumer has total unity from his 50-member caucus. He doesn’t, but Democrats are facing intense pressure from their base to hold a vote anyways to force Republicans and their own holdouts to go on the record with their opposition to changing the rules in order to advance the voting bill.
Both Manchin and Sinema reiterated last week that they support the 60-vote legislative filibuster.
Manchin said in a statement that he would “not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.” Sinema, in a floor speech, reiterated that while she supports the voting bills, she also has long-standing support for the legislative filibuster.
It is the view I continue to hold. It is the belief I have shared many times in public settings and in private settings, Sinema said.