Republican leader says he will force votes on GOP-sponsored legislation
“As Sen. Schumer seeks to sabotage the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action will have immediate consequences,” McConnell said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
A growing number of Democrats say they need to eliminate or replace the filibuster, which they call a party priority, in order to pass federal election legislation. Over the past year, Republicans in the Senate have prevented Democrats from starting debates on election legislation, a filibuster technique regularly employed by both parties when they are in a minority to block the majority.
“If Republicans refuse to join us in a bipartisan spirit, if they continue to hijack Senate rules to turn this chamber into a deep freezer, we will consider the appropriate steps necessary to restore the Senate. So we can pass these resolutions and send them to the president’s desk,” Mr. Schumer said in a floor speech Monday afternoon.
For now, Mr McConnell is focused on countering a motion rejected by Democrats, a change that would have allowed bills to go ahead for debate with a simple majority vote, not now 60. needed. That would leave another 60-vote limit before the final one passed.
If Democrats make that change, McConnell’s office said he would propose more than a dozen bills, including measures that would block the implementation of private-sector vaccine mandates, allowing so-called sanctuary cities to receive federal grants. Or stop the Biden administration. from imposing any fracking restrictions.
The other GOP bill on Mr McConnell’s list, which he thinks could get 50 votes or more, replaces the Biden administration’s proposal to require banks to send more information about customers’ accounts to the IRS to the Internal Revenue Service. and prevent primary and high schools from using $164 billion in unspent COVID-relief funds if they are not open to in-person learning.
McConnell plans to add more than a dozen Republican bills to the legislative calendar on Monday night, using a Senate process known as Rule 14 to bypass Democratic-controlled committees.
In the Senate, it is typical practice for the leader of the majority to make a motion to proceed. Technically anyone can, although such a move is rare.
Eliminating the 60-vote limit on the move forward is one of the least aggressive options Democrats are considering, as they try to woo centrist Democratic sensibilities. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona to agree on a rule change that would enable them. To pass the election law.
An election bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, would make election day a national holiday, mandate 15-day early voting and require all states to allow mail-in voting. The second, named after the late Democratic Representative John Lewis, would give the federal government more control over state voting processes. Ms. Cinema and Mr. Manchin supported the voting bills, but expressed a desire to retain the 60-vote limit.
Other options fellow Democrats are pitching for Mr Manchin and Ms Cinema include returning to “talking filibusters”, in which senators will be able to proceed immediately to a last-pass vote once all members have exercised their rights to speak. was abolished, and 41 were required. Senators to be present and vote to block the bill. Currently at least 60 senators must be present and vote to advance the legislation, allowing a minority to thwart bills without even having a foot in the House.
Mr Manchin stressed to reporters earlier this month that his priority was not to make any rule changes without at least some Republican buy-in. The Senate has traditionally needed 67 votes to change chamber rules, but previous senators on both sides voted for the nuclear option to eliminate filibuster for executive, judicial and Supreme Court candidates with only 51 votes. process known as . But the filibuster for the law remains in place.
—Siobhan Hughes contributed to this article.
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