Senate Won’t Change Filibuster Rules To Pass Voting Rights
The rule change would have employed a one-time talking filibuster to avoid the 60-vote threshold to pass the bills. With a 50-50 vote, the Democrats would have had the tiebreaker in Vice President Kamala Harris.
Manchin would not budge on his decision, despite the pressure from his party to change his vote. He declared he could not “break the rules to change the rules.”
“I cannot support such a perilous course for this nation when elected leaders are sent to Washington to unite our country, not to divide our country,” Manchin added. “Putting politics and party aside is what we’re supposed to do. It’s time that we do the hard work to forge the difficult compromises that can stand the test of time.”
Sinema agreed and said that she felt it would be more divisive to take a separate action.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) rejected Manchin and Sinema’s concerns that changing the filibuster would hurt bipartisanship.
“I don’t see that evidence, evidence of that at all,” Schumer said. “But even for those who feel that the filibuster is a good thing and helps bring us together, I would ask this question: isn’t the protection of voting rights, the most fundamental wellspring of this democracy, more important? Isn’t protecting voting rights and protecting their diminution more important than a rule in the Senate?”
The voting rights bills encompass a number of proposals, such as making Election Day a national holiday and allowing no-excuse absentee voting. The bills would also override laws made in GOP-led states that make it more difficult to vote.