Chuck Schumer Lays Out Plan for Votes on Elections Bills

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The Democratic Party is pushing big on the voting-rights agenda, but lacking the GOP support needed to pass

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Mr Schumer has previously set a January 17 deadline for the Senate to act on the election law before potential Senate rule changes. Some Democrats have proposed eliminating the 60-vote limit altogether or waiving voting-related legislation, while others have proposed other measures.

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Democrats would need 50 votes to replace the Senate filibuster, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a tie, but two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, opposed proposals to make a filibuster exception to voting rights. refused to support. ,

Democrats say new federal voting laws are needed to counter recent measures passed in GOP-led states that party lawmakers have portrayed as a threat to access to elections, especially for minority voters. . Republicans call for Democrats’ proposals to undermine states’ efforts to strengthen federal redundancy and electoral integrity.

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In the memo, Mr Schumer said the two primary Democratic bills – “The Freedom to Vote Act” and a separate measure named after the late civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis – would be combined into a single measure and routed through House in a procedural maneuver. He did not set dates for the votes, but an aide said they would be in the coming days.

Under Congressional procedures, a bill that has been amended in the House and sent back to the Senate is known as a “message”. It enjoys a privileged position in which the Senate cannot debate whether to proceed with legislation; Bringing such a measure to the Senate floor requires a simple up or down vote to proceed. Last year, Senate Republicans denied Democrats 60 votes to propose moving any legislation.

As soon as Wednesday, the House Rules Committee plans to meet with the contents of two Democratic voting bills to consider amendments to such a “shell” bill. Once the House adopts and passes the amended law, it will be sent to the Senate as a “message.”

“The Senate will then be able to debate voting rights legislation for this Congress for the first time,” Mr Schumer wrote to aides. He also acknowledged the difficult road to passage and would require Democrats to consider changes to Senate rules to muscle through the legislation.

The plan coincides with a flurry of activities to push the voting law forward. President Biden on Tuesday backed changes to the Senate’s filibuster procedures to allow election measures to be passed with a simple Senate majority, with Ms Harris a tie instead of the 60-vote hurdle facing most laws. broke it. Mr Biden is due to meet behind closed doors with Senate Democrats on Thursday.

Write Siobhan Hughes at [email protected]

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