UPDATE: As expected, the elections and voting bill before the U.S. Senate Tuesday night was blocked when the upper house split 50-50 – along party lines – on a procedural motion. Sixty votes are needed to overcome a filibuster.
An elections and voting bill backed by Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden is expected to be blocked in the Senate Tuesday evening.
According to the Associated Press, Republicans will use the filibuster to prevent debate or a vote on the 900-page proposed legislation. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a slim majority.
In the Senate, the parties each have 50 seats and in a deadlock, Vice a Kamala Harris could cast a tie-breaking vote. But under current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to defeat the filibuster and proceed to debate and a vote.
The proposed legislation was crafted in response to new laws in Republican majority states where a variety of changes – reducing early voting, requiring voter ID for absentee ballots and curbing the use of “drop boxes” – amounted to “voter suppression,” according to Democrats.
But Republicans argue that it’s merely a “partisan power grab” by the other party, in the words of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Senate Minority Leader.
Democrats could still succeed if they voted to abolish the filibuster, in which a single Senator could halt the business of the Senate, but moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are opposed to changing a centuries-old tradition.
Categories: The Wider World