Biden To Meet With Senate Democrats About Voting Rights Bill
President Joe Biden met with the Senate Democrats on Thursday to urge voting rights legislation and amendment to the current filibuster rules after the Republicans blocked three bills over the past year.
To do that, they would need the agreement of all 50 Senators, which they do not have at the moment. The party views coming together as critical to stopping Republican-led states from passing what they see as unjust voting laws in the aftermath of Donald Trump‘s 2020 “stolen” election.
The Democrats do not yet have a complete filibuster reform proposal, but options include a talking filibuster where the minority party could only delay the bill as long as they were on the floor or a filibuster carveout – that would allow voting rights legislation to pass without the 60 votes required, instead it would take only 50.
Two centrist Sens., Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) are key and will need to be convinced. Biden plans to get on the phone and attempt to do that himself. While there is a focus on Manchin and Sinema, they are not alone as other Senate Democrats are wary of changing the rules.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says he will hold a vote on the potential changes on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, even though they were previously scheduled for a recess. He has told the senators they might need to be in D.C. over the weekend.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) says he is backing the talking filibuster.
“If you look at every other democracy in the world there are measures for the minority party to be able to slow things, but they don’t get a veto. So eventually they get a vote,” he said. “I think that’s key: that you have a path for a majority to enact policies to get to a majority vote.”
Asked when Democrats need to come to an agreement, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) said: “As I told you for the last two months, yesterday would be great. The truth is, at some point in time [Schumer’s] got to bring this to a head. And I think that’s why he’s having the vote.”
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