The Democrats’ signature election bill is being blocked by Republicans.
The Democrats’ attempt to revamp US election and voting laws halted in the Senate on Tuesday, stymied by Republican resistance to what would have been the most significant electoral reform in a century.
The initiative, dubbed the For the People Act, would address practically every element of election administration, removing barriers to voting that supporters see as the Civil Rights battle of the era.
It would also limit partisan influence on congressional district drawing and curb the power of money in politics.
Many Republicans, though, believe the bill is a stunning federal overreach on states’ authority to conduct free and fair elections – one that will ultimately benefit Democrats.
It failed on a 50-50 vote as Republicans denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to begin debate, dubbed the “Screw the People Act” by some. As the bill failed, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the chamber.
She later stated, “The fight isn’t finished.”
The defeat pushes Democrats to consider what will happen next for their top legislative aim in a Senate that is razor-thinly divided. They have hailed the bill as a formidable counterpoint to a slew of initiatives pending in Republican-controlled statehouses that would make voting more difficult.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer remarked from the chamber floor, “Once again, the Senate Republican minority has attempted a politicized blockade on a serious subject.” He promised that the vote was just the “starting gun” and that voting rights would be debated again in the future.
“Democrats are unified and determined to passing this important legislation to safeguard voting rights, ensure the integrity of our elections, and restore and rebuild our democracy,” Biden tweeted before of the vote.
Whatever Democrats decide, they will face the same obstacle as they did on Tuesday, when minority Republicans used the filibuster — a measure Democrats used during Donald Trump’s presidency — to prevent the bill from being considered.
The Republican Party showed no signs of bending.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party’s leader. (This is a brief piece.)