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Democrats’ campaign to alter the filibuster in order to push through their nationalized voting legislation hit a brick wall last night when the Senate, led by Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, voted to uphold the procedural tool.
President Joe Biden will have to wait to secure a legislative victory regarding softening election protections after the Senate voted Wednesday night not to lift the filibuster.
Democrats sought to alter the filibuster so that it was hands-off of the voting bills at hand. This would effectively make it so that the voting rights bills would need a simple majority to pass, which they already do, but would not require a 60-member cloture vote to end a filibuster prior to. With current senate rules, budget reconciliations do not allow filibusters, making it easier for the majority party to pass imperative budgetary agendas. If the filibuster alteration was passed, the voting legislation would likely be a 50-50 tie and thus a victory for Democrats with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. Yet Manchin and Sinema held their ground after stating that they would not support a partisan effort to alter the filibuster in this way.
Sinema said, “When one party need only negotiate with itself, policy will inextricably be pushed from the middle towards the extremes.”
In explaining his vote, Manchin told the Senate,
“For the last year, my Democratic colleagues have taken to the Senate floor, cable news airwaves, pages of newspapers across the country to argue that repealing the filibuster is actually restoring the Senate to the vision the Founding Fathers intended for this deliberative body. My friends, that is simply not true. It’s just not true. The United States Senate has never, in 233 years, been able to end debate on legislation with a simple majority vote.”
President Biden responded in a tweet, “I am profoundly disappointed that the Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred. We will continue to advance necessary legislation and push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.”
Vice President Harris shared that sentiment, saying, “Senators voted to preserve an arcane Senate rule rather than secure that fundamental freedom. The American people will not forget this moment. Neither will history. Our Administration will continue to fight to pass federal legislation — and to change Senate rules — to secure the right to vote.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the desire to alter the filibuster by his counterpart Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an effort to “smash the Senate, silence millions of Americans, and seize control of our democracy.”
“Please note that, even in the Democratic leader’s manufactured case, even when he presumably wanted the most persuasive theater he could possibly muster, the Senate will only have spent about a day and a half on this bill before he tries to ram it through. “Since when does the Senate pass any significant bill in a day and a half, much less a gigantic elections overhaul?”
McConnell claimed, “Our colleague is not trying to conclude an unending discussion that he cannot stop. He is trying to short-circuit a debate that he cannot win. This is just the kind of shortsighted power grab this body was built to stop.”
He also took aim at the two voting bills, saying, “This party-line push has never been about securing citizens’ rights. It’s about expanding politicians’ power. That’s why their bill tries to weaken voter ID laws that are popular with Americans of all races. It’s why their bill is stuffed with strange policies that have zero relationship to ballot access; new powers for bureaucrats to police citizens’ speech online, new schemes where the federal government would directly fund political campaigns.”
Sinema and Manchin should be applauded for their commitment to upholding the Senate rules despite not only pressure from their party but their own support for the voting legislation. In opposition to Biden and Harris’ absurd claims, these two voted to defend our system of government rather than turn it over to one-party rule.
Make no mistake: Changing the filibuster would not only pave the way for domination by one party on a rotating basis, with the passage of this voting legislation, Democrats could have ruled the country for the foreseeable future. These bills are not about ending voter suppression, they are about weakening election security and giving the federal government control over elections.
Passage of such legislation would have ended widely popular voter I.D. requirements, for starters. A November poll revealed that 85 percent of all voters and 78 percent of black voters support voter ID requirements, which the left claims are part of racist voter suppression.
The legislation would have also given felons the right to vote, allowed for same-day registration, no excuse mail-in voting, the promotion of government-funded political campaigns, and federal authority over not all but certain states’ right to redistrict.
Let’s be clear, getting rid of the filibuster isn’t a noble effort to protect democracy, it’s a dangerous power grab to eliminate opposition to the left’s widely unpopular legislation that is intended to give it permanent control.