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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Dems switch strategy on voting bill as Biden steps up action


WASHINGTON (AP) – Lacking votes to replace filibuster rules, Senate Democrats are moving forward with a new strategy on their broader voting and election legislation: a less than assured vote to force a public display on the dominant party priority. start a debate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined the plan in a memo obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press on the eve of President Joe Biden’s visit to meet privately with Senate Democrats. That still leaves Democrats to force a vote on the law, which has now been blocked by the Republican filibuster.

“We will finally have the opportunity to debate voting rights legislation – something that Republicans have so far denied,” Schumer wrote in the memo to his Democratic colleagues. “Senators can finally make it clear to the American people where they stand to defend our democracy and preserve the right of every eligible American to vote.”

The strategy does little to solve the central problem facing Democrats – they lack Republican support to pass election legislation on a bipartisan basis, but also the support of all 50 Democrats to change Senate rules. so that they can pass on their own. But the latest tactic could create an off-ramp from his initial approach, which was to force a vote by Monday on Senate filibuster changes as a way to put pressure on Democratic censors. To go with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema.

By setting up a debate, Schumer will achieve Democrats’ goal of shining a spotlight that prompts senators to say where they stand. The debate on the floor could stretch for days and echoes of the civil rights fight a generation ago that led to some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Senate history.

“I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking it’s easy,” Schumer told reporters on Wednesday. He called the push a “battle of the climb”.

Democrats have vowed to counter a wave of new state laws fueled by false claims of Donald Trump’s stolen election, making it harder to vote. But after an initial flurry of activity, Democrats’ efforts have stalled in a narrowly divided Senate, where they lack 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, prompting their calls for rule changes.

Recently he has tried to breathe new life into the effort. Biden made a fiery speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, where he told senators that each of them would be “judged by history” if they failed to act. He is scheduled to meet with Democratic senators at the Capitol on Thursday to jot down the effort ahead.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sharply denied Biden’s speech on Wednesday, in which he called George Wallace, the separatist Alabama governor who ran for president, and Jefferson Davis, the union’s president.

McConnell, R-Q, “You can’t invent a better ad for legislative filibuster than what we’ve just seen: a president abandoning rational persuasion for pure democracy.” told the Senate floor on Wednesday. “A president screaming that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racists until all he finds is proving why the framers created the Senate to check their power.”

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Asked about running until Wednesday for a response to McConnell’s comments, Biden turned and took off his black mask and said, “I like Mitch McConnell. He’s a friend.” The response came during Biden’s visit to the Capitol to pay respects to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who died last week and was lying in state in the rotunda.

Republicans are almost unanimous in opposing the voting law, seeing it as a federal redundancy that would infringe on the states’ abilities to conduct their own elections. And he has reported that Democrats opposed the change in the filibuster that Trump sought as president.

For Democrats and Biden, the law is a political imperative. Failure to pass it would break a big campaign promise for black voters, who helped Democrats take control of the White House and Congress, and would come just before the midterm election when a thin Democratic majority is on the line. It will be the second major blow to Biden’s agenda in a month, when Munchkin halted work on a $2 trillion package of the president’s social and environmental initiatives shortly before Christmas.

The current package of voting and ethics legislation will herald the biggest change in US elections in a generation, removing barriers to voting in the name of electoral security, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and limiting partisan influence on drawing. Will do The Congressional Districts package would create national election standards that would trample state-level GOP laws. It would also restore the Justice Department’s ability to police election laws in states with a history of discrimination.

Many civil rights activists feel that Biden’s emphasis on aggressive voting rights is too little-too late after GOP-backed changes to state voting laws, which they see as a slew of ballot restrictions such as literacy tests and voting taxes. See it in a subtle way. Deny black voters the right to vote. Some people boycotted Biden’s speech in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, was among those who called on Biden to drop the speech.

“We have heard rhetoric like this before,” the group said in a statement. “A goal without a plan is just a desire.”

Schumer set January 17 as the deadline for Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday to pass voting legislation or consider revising the filibuster rules. It is unclear whether voting on the rule change will still take place.

Possibilities include setting a requirement that 41 senators be present in the chamber to retain a filibuster.

Munchkin dashed hopes on Tuesday, saying he believes any change should be made with enough Republican buyout. And no Republican senators are willing to sign.


AP Congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed.

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