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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Senate Democrats on the brink of defeat on voting law despite frantic push

Biden in a loud speech on Tuesday called on the Senate to change its filibuster rules and is coming to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with Senate Democrats to discuss the voting rights push. Senate Democrats are also holding a series of meetings on the issue, but so far two Democratic senators, Munchkin and Cinema, who have long expressed their opposition to eliminating the 60-vote limit for most laws, have so far remained adamant. appear to.

Cinema did not comment on Biden’s speech, but a spokeswoman told CNN that her position has not changed: She still opposes the end of the 60-vote limit, but wants to improve the way the Senate works. Ready to discuss ideas.

The Arizona Democrat’s position – along with Manchin – underscores the reality that there is no viable way to get comprehensive legislation to overhaul election laws on Biden’s table.

Manchin declined to give his views on Biden’s speech on Wednesday, other than saying it was a “good speech.”

Asked about Biden’s comments that the majority should rule in the United States Senate, Manchin said, “He understands — we all understand how the Senate works.”

Munchkin and Cinema have repeatedly expressed concern over the long-term implications for the country if the majority can act on the minority party at will, without being controlled by filibuster. And Manchin has indicated that any rule change should only be done on a bipartisan basis.

The dynamic has created an immovable obstacle for Democrats, who hold a narrow majority in the Senate and House – and face enormous pressure to pass voting legislation.

Voting bills is a major priority for liberal activists and voters, but Democrats have consistently run up against a wall of Republican opposition in the Senate, where 50 votes that Democrats control are not enough to pass bills until a filibuster is made. lives.

As Democrats now push to change the filibuster rules, the party is again hitting the wall of opposition, but this time from within its own ranks.

The party recently suffered another major blow to Biden’s agenda when Munchkin said he could not support the Build Back Better Act, a sweeping legislation to expand the social safety net and fight climate change. The law stood as the centerpiece of Biden’s domestic agenda, but it is now unclear whether Democrats will be able to pick up the pieces and salvage any of it.

As the clock ticks over the 2022 midterm election, it’s also becoming increasingly difficult for Democrats to pass any major legislation.

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‘Intense’ meetings going on with Munchkin and Cinema

Despite the obstacles in their path, Senate Democrats are not giving up or giving up for now.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that “intense” meetings with Munchkin and Cinema are continuing as they “try to come to a place” where 50 senators can support the Democrats’ election bills as well. The Senate can change the rules and pass them. He added, however, that “we’re not there yet.”

“I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking it’s easy, but we’re trying to get to a place where 50 senators can support two bills – the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Act – and with a change in rules, so we can get votes to pass these bills into law,” he said.

The New York Democrat indicated he was ready to vote no matter where the discussion took place.

Schumer previously set a January 17 deadline — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — for the Senate to vote on a change in rules if Republicans continue to block the voting rights law.

CNN’s Ali Zaslav, Ted Barrett, Daniela Diaz and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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