Republicans block vote on Democrats’ vote reform bill


Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a vote on the Democratic Party-sponsored “freedom to vote law”. The motion to bring the bill to a floor debate was defeated by 51 votes to 49, with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voting “no,” a move designed to allow the bill to ‘be presented for a vote later this year.

As expected, no Republican voted for the measure, which required 60 votes to end the filibuster.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to reporters outside the Senate Chamber after a voting rights bill was not passed by the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. ( AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

The defeat of the Freedom to Vote Act marks the third time Congress Democrats have failed to pass a voting rights reform bill this year.

The bill was doomed to fail. Senate Republicans remained committed to blocking the vote on all Democratic bills. This Republican resistance in Congress comes as Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country pass laws making it harder for Americans to vote and, in some cases, strengthening the authority of the state government to impose partisan control over local voting procedures. .

The latest legislative defeat is a stark revelation of the Democratic Party’s political bankruptcy. Faced with the biggest attack on voting rights since Jim Crow, Democrats have refused to mount any serious attempt to defend most basic democratic rights.

The “Freedom to Vote Act” itself is a stripped-down version of the “People’s Law,” Democrats’ larger voting reform bill, which was defeated twice over the summer. . Democrats in the Senate and the Biden administration have made no serious effort to change or remove filibuster, allowing Democrats to pass legislation protecting the right to vote by simple majority. As on virtually all political issues, they bowed to right-wing Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who vehemently defends filibuster.

In fact, Manchin fully executes the logic of Biden and the Democratic leadership’s endless calls for “unity” and “bipartisanship” with their Republican “colleagues”, the vast majority of whom continue to support Donald Trump, promote lying. . of a “stolen election” and oppose any investigation into the attempted coup of 6 January.

The irresponsible and deceptive position of the Democratic Party has only encouraged Republicans to step up their attack on voting rights at the national and local levels.

At the same time, Democratic leaders have capitulated to Manchin’s demands that any voting rights bill should be designed to appeal to Republican lawmakers. The resulting “Freedom to Vote Act” removed many provisions that were included in the previous bill regarding campaign finance and redistribution. He also caved in to Republicans on enacting state voter identification measures, designed to prevent working class and minority voters from going to the polls.

Despite Manchin’s claims he could win 10 Republican votes for the “free vote law,” not a single Republican voted to end the filibuster and raise the measure to a floor vote.

After Wednesday’s vote, Schumer said: “Make no mistake, Senate Republicans’ blocking of debate today is an implicit endorsement of the horrific new voter suppression and electoral subversion laws. implemented in the conservative states of the country. As if the increasingly fascist Republican Party were susceptible to moral appeals!

There is also nothing “implicit” in Congressional Republicans’ support for the assault on voting rights.

Schumer continued, “It’s supposed to be the largest deliberative body in the world, where we debate, compromise, amend and pass laws to help the American people. This is the heritage of this great chamber. The Senate must regain its legitimate status as the world’s largest deliberative body.

Known as the “Wall Street Senator,” Schumer distributed these bromides to a gang of politicians taken by various business interests, of which Mark Twain wrote: “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that he did not. There is no American Criminal Class except Congress.

By trying to woo Republican support for electoral reform, the Democratic Party is showing that it has nothing to offer in defense of democratic rights. Throughout the year, Democrats have sought to channel opposition to voting restrictions behind bogus corporate campaigns, ineffective political coups and calls for electoral support in 2022.

Schumer concluded by announcing that he planned to introduce a different voting rights bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, as early as next week. This bill seeks to restore the enforcement powers of the federal government that were withdrawn from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the United States Supreme Court in 2013.

This is yet another empty move that will meet the same fate as previous Democrats’ voting rights bills.

It is a fact that the Obama administration has made no serious effort to pass legislation through Congress restoring enforcement powers. The lack of real commitment within the Democratic Party – or the ruling class as a whole – to the defense of democratic rights was definitively demonstrated in 2000, when the Democrats and their presidential candidate Al Gore accepted without a fight. flight of the presidential election. by the Supreme Court’s decision to stop the Florida vote recount and hand the White House over to George W. Bush, the national popular vote loser.

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