Defeat for Joe Biden as Republicans block voting rights reform Bill

Tanya Simon
June 23, 2021

In anticipation of the Senate vote Tuesday evening on the For the People Act, a bill meant to expand voting rights and counter restrictive voting laws pushed by GOP lawmakers, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., denounced Republican efforts to stop the legislation from being passed.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is followed by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

But Republicans said the package was a federal power grab against the authority of individual USA states to ensure the integrity of their own elections, designed purely to benefit Democrats.

"The so-called "For the People Act" is a despicable, disingenuous attempt to strip states of their constitutional right to administer elections, and should never come close to reaching the president's desk", Capito said. His opposition would result in a major setback for the Democratic party, as the West Virginian senator has pushed for an alternative that integrates more of his ideas.

Graham also pointed to how Democrats defended the filibuster during the Trump preidency, saying it was "very unpleasant" for the former president and his allies to go after him "to try to change the rules in the Senate". "We must end the filibuster, pass sweeping voting rights legislation, and protect our democracy", said Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, after the vote.

Even if the president had made a stronger effort to use the "bully pulpit" to tout the benefits of the bill - and Biden did give several speeches on the subject - the chances of shifting any Republican votes was slim.

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Manchin is the only Senate Democrat who has not cosponsored the "For the People Act", the party's flagship voting bill.

Some Democrats have spoken out against Manchin's changes, including a voter ID requirement and allowing modified voter roll purges.

It was defeated in a 50-50 party-line vote, due to the Senate filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to pass most bills. "We are going to explore every last one of our options", Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor, right after the vote. "An issue no less vital than the right to vote".

"We can't let state legislators get to pick and choose who votes and what votes get counted".

The House of Representatives passed its version of the For the People Act in March.

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