House vote on combined election bill is first move of doomed Dem filibuster gambit

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Congressional Democrats will start a futile bid to jam sweeping election reform via the Senate and alter its 60-vote legislative filibuster later Thursday when the House votes on a bill merging two separate voting measures.

The complicated effort is sure to fail attributable to opposition by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to altering the filibuster rule — and a brand new memo from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suggests a promised showdown vote could not occur in any respect.

Democrats have opted to make use of an unrelated bill extending NASA’s property leasing authority because the automobile to ship each the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to the Senate.

The newly constructed measure cleared two procedural votes within the House alongside celebration traces late Wednesday and a vote on ultimate passage is anticipated at mid-morning Thursday.

Because the unique bill was already handed by the House and Senate, Schumer doesn’t want 60 votes to open debate on the election proposals. Republicans repeatedly blocked debate within the 50-50 Senate on each the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act final 12 months and none are anticipated to assist cloture when Schumer strikes to finish debate.

“With this procedure, we will finally have an opportunity to debate voting rights legislation – something that Republicans have thus far denied,” Schumer advised his colleagues in a memo laying out his plan Wednesday night. “Of course, to ultimately end debate and pass the voting rights legislation, we will need 10 Republicans to join us — which we know from past experience will not happen — or we will need to change the Senate rules as has been done many times before.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
A brand new memo from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suggests a promised showdown vote could not occur in any respect.
EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Schumer vowed earlier this month to deliver rule change laws up for a vote by Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, if the voting payments didn’t go. However, within the face of Manchin and Sinema’s steadfast assist for the filibuster, Senate management could decide to forgo a vote on rule adjustments and be content material with a prolonged debate on the subject.

Senate Democratic management opted to pivot to election reform after the push to go a sweeping social spending measure hit a wall final month, with Manchin voicing opposition to a number of provisions in President Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better bill. 

The Freedom to Vote Act would unwind a quantity of restrictions put in place by some states — permitting for same-day voter registration, allowing no-excuse mail voting, stopping states from requiring a photograph ID to vote, permitting for felons to vote in all states altering the principles surrounding congressional redistricting, requiring tremendous PACs, and so-called “dark money groups” to reveal all donors contributing over $10,000. 

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would undo courtroom rulings that weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by requiring sure states to obtain federal preclearance earlier than enacting redistricting plans or new voting legal guidelines. 

Democrats have cited the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot and the brand new state voting legal guidelines as examples of the GOP trying to disenfranchise voters. Republicans have rejected the accusations, arguing that Democrats’ push to go the laws represents unconstitutional partisan overreach. 

GOP critics argue that sturdy protections for minority voters stay in place beneath the Voting Rights Act and have referred to as as an alternative for the Senate to move on a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act to make clear Congress’ position in certifying elections. 

Biden is anticipated to huddle with Senate Democrats on Thursday afternoon, a pair of hours after the House vote, as he ramps up strain on Manchin and Sinema to get on board with passing the laws with a easy majority. 

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