Republican leader says he will force votes on GOP-sponsored legislation
His office said those votes would include controversial topics such as blocking vaccine mandates or stopping fracking bans. Aides familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking say the threat is intended to cause outrage for Democrats as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY) seeks to modify or eliminate the filibuster’s 60-vote limit. Let’s try to unite our caucus before potential votes. next week.
“As Sen. Schumer seeks to sabotage the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action will have immediate consequences,” the Senate minority leader said in a statement to Businesshala.
Mr. Schumer responded by giving Mr. McConnell a motion shortly before the Senate adjournment on Monday night: if all 50 Republicans agree, the Senate could go up or down on the majority limit on each of Mr. McConnell’s 18 Republican bills. vote, as well as two election-related bills from the Democrats.
“Now Republican leaders want to put a bunch of gotcha bills on the legislative calendar, which they think are tough votes for Democrats to take as some sort of payment for pushing legislation to protect the sacred right to vote. Will be,” said Mr. Schumer. “Well, we Democrats are not afraid of these votes.”
Mr. Schumer sought unanimous consent to the deal. Mr McConnell protested.
With the House and White House under Democratic control, any Democratic bill that passes the Senate under such a deal would be made on President Biden’s desk for his signature. Republican bills, even if they were passed, would be unlikely to become law.
A growing number of Democrats say they need to eliminate or replace filibuster in order to pass federal election legislation, which they call the party’s top priority, and Biden is planning to deliver a speech on voting rights in Atlanta on Tuesday. are. Over the past year, Senate Republicans have prevented Democrats from starting debates on election legislation, a filibuster technique regularly employed by both parties when they are in the minority.
For now, Mr McConnell is focusing on discouraging a motion rejected by Democrats, a change that allows bills to go ahead with a simple majority vote instead of the 60 now required. That would leave another 60-vote limit before the final one passed.
If Democrats make changes, McConnell’s office said he would propose more than a dozen bills, including measures that would block the implementation of private-sector vaccine mandates, preventing so-called sanctuary cities from receiving 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, would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from implementing a Biden administration proposal that called for banks to tell the IRS more about customers’ accounts. The information would need to be sent and primary and restricted. High schools will block access to $164 billion in unspent COVID-19-relief funds if they are not open to in-person learning.
McConnell plans to start adding more than a dozen Republican bills to the legislative calendar by 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 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.
Mr. Manchin said Monday night that he hoped the senators “can come to an agreement to make things right. Every American has the right to vote and should be protected.”
Some Republicans have in the past supported eliminating the 60-vote limit on the proposal to move the debate forward. Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) said in a recent interview that in 2016 — when he was chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and Schumer was the top Democrat — he voted to allow the debate to begin with a simple 51 votes. was proposed. But Mr. Schumer was not receptive. Mr Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
—Siobhan Hughes contributed to this article.
Write Lindsay Wise [email protected] . Feather