Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced late Thursday that the Senate wouldn’t reconvene till Jan. 18, scrapping his own deadline to power a vote on altering the legislative filibuster within the face of sure defeat.
Schumer had vowed earlier this month to put any potential rule modifications to a vote by Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. However, expectations for a Senate showdown had been dashed when Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reaffirmed their longstanding opposition to messing with the 60-vote requirement.
“Due to circumstances regarding COVID and another potentially hazardous winter storm approaching the DC area this weekend, the Senate will adjourn tonight. However, we will be postponing the recess so the Senate can vote on voting rights,” Schumer stated. “We will return on Tuesday to take up the House-passed message containing voting rights legislation.”
The majority chief then insisted that if Senate Republicans “choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote,” there could be a vote on altering or eradicating the filibuster.
However, there isn’t a assure any such vote would really happen. Given Manchin and Sinema’s agency opposition to any rule tweaks, Senate Democratic management might have to be content material with a prolonged, bruising debate over sweeping election reform laws backed by the White House and progressive activists.
Democrats had been dealt one other setback Thursday when Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced that he had examined constructive for COVID-19 earlier within the week. Unlike the House, the Senate doesn’t give its members the choice to vote remotely — that means that with Schatz’s absence, Democrats didn’t have the required votes this week to even start debate on the large voting measure.
In a second of excessive drama on the Senate ground, Sinema gave an almost 20-minute speech detailing her perception that eliminating the legislative filibuster would solely additional divide the 2 events and people they symbolize.
“These [election] bills help the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself,” she stated. “And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”
Shortly after Sinema’s remarks, Biden traveled to the Capitol to meet with Senate Democrats in an effort to sway Manchin and Sinema.
The president didn’t seem assured after the assembly, telling reporters: “I hope we can get this done, but I’m not sure.”
“But one thing for certain [is that] like every other major civil rights bill that came along, if we miss the first time, we can come back and try it a second time,” Biden added. “We missed this time.”
After Biden left the Capitol, Manchin launch an announcement of his own backing Sinema’s place.
“Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel onto the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart — especially when one party controls both Congress and the White House,” he stated. “As such, and as I have said many times before, I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
The two senators then went to the White House Thursday night, the place they and the president had “a candid and respectful exchange of views about voting rights,” in accordance to an administration official.