Attempts by Democrats to change the Philippine rules to pass the voting bill failed amid opposition from moderate Democrats Joe Mancin and Kirsten Cinema. With votes 52-48, the two moderates joined all the GOP senators. Following the defeat of the referendum, loud applause erupted from the Republicans.
The proposed change of rules – to allow “Philippester to speak” in law – would have forced lawmakers who wished to table the bill to come up to the Senate and speak out in opposition. Once those speeches are over, the Senate can hold a simple majority vote in the final paragraph. The move would effectively remove the 60-vote limit set by Philipster.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, the Senate failed to break the GOP Philippester on the Voting Act, which integrates the key provisions of the two bills, the Freedom of Voting Act and the John Lewis Promotion Act.
The law was defeated by a margin of 49-51 votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to “No” so he could offer a motion to reconsider the vote.
Members of the House in the Black Caucus of Congress marched to the Senate to express their support for changing voting rights and Senate rules, warning that they would not stop fighting to pass it no matter what.
“We want the Senate to act positively today, but if they do not, we will not give up. I’m too young to give up,” House Rep. Jim Claibern told CNN.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday defended the Senate administration, saying Republicans will continue their record of maintaining the legislature Philippester, whom he calls the “essence of the Senate,” when the next majority is in place.
“It is safe to say that this was the biggest day in the history of the Senate,” McConnell said. The Republicans of Kentucky, without mentioning their names, hailed Mancin and the cinema for their “courage” and keeping in mind that “the shoe may be on the other foot in the future”.
As a result, the drive to change Senate rules is creating a major conflict among Democrats as the party prepares to put two of its own members in that position, which appears to be failing.
Democrats, who control only 50 seats in the Senate, have come under intense pressure from liberal activists to take action on voting rights, and President Joe Biden has been training to focus on the issue as other elements of his domestic agenda stagnate.
“The honest answer to God is, I don’t know if we can do this,” Biden said. “I hope we can do this, but I’m not sure.”
Schumer delivered an emotional speech Wednesday and supported the Senate’s drive to change the rules.
“When we discuss this issue, which is so important to the source of our democracy, we all face the crucial question: Will the members of this House do what is necessary to pass these bills and move them to the President’s desk? That is my courage. It wakes up before the day dawns in the hearts of our Republican colleagues,” he said. If the Senate fails to protect the right to vote, “Senate rules must be reformed.”
“Our proposal to talk about these pieces of legislation would be the first step in fulfilling the right to vote, to recover this body and to break the barrier we now face on this important issue,” Schumer said.
Manjin warns against discriminatory separation
In a speech before the vote on Wednesday evening, Mancin warned against discriminatory secession and argued that it was okay for lawmakers to compromise.
“Allowing a party with a simple majority to exercise full control over the Senate will only fuel the fire of political whipping and inaction that is tearing this country apart,” Mancin said on the Senate site. “You do not have to look far to see how we divide ourselves. In every part of this country, people are now divided.”
“It’s time for us to work hard to create tough compromises that can withstand the test of time,” Mancin said.
The story and title were updated on Wednesday with additional improvements.
CNN’s Lauren Fox and Jessica Dean contributed to the report.
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