U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just walked away from an amazing opportunity. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered the top Republican a two-for-twenty swap: kill the filibuster for two of President Joe Biden’s voting rights bills – which would also help Republican voters – in exchange for dropping the filibuster for 20 GOP bills.
“We Democrats aren’t afraid of these votes,” Leader Schumer said Monday night on the Senate floor, The Hill reports. “So what I proposed to the Republican leader is that the Senate hold up-or-down votes at a majority threshold on each of the Republicans bills he has outlined tonight as well as the [Democrats’] Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
Schumer is expected to force a vote on the two Democratic voting rights bills this week. Although they are expected to fail to meet the necessary 60-vote threshold to avoid the Jim Crow era filibuster, it will get Republicans on the record as being against voting rights.
But Schumer is also expected to “bring up changing the legislative filibuster by Jan. 17, bringing to a head months of behind-the-scenes negotiations among Democrats as they’ve tried to unify on rules changes,” The Hill adds.
Leader Schumer knocks McConnell: “The threats of voter suppression are not false. They are dangerous. The leader’s line of argument— the Republican leader’s line of argument is gaslighting, pure and simple.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 10, 2022
Mother Jones journalist and voting rights expert Ari Berman notes that there are still challenges on the Democratic side as well:
There was no supermajority requirement when Senate was created & 161 exceptions to filibuster between 1969-2014 https://t.co/RF63YbeZC9
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) January 10, 2022
“This week is one of most pivotal in history of American democracy,” Berman also warns. “If Dems don’t pass federal legislation now to stop voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering & election subversion, GOP will make it impossible to have fair elections going forward.
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