Election On the Hill

Voting Rights Bill Blocked by Filibuster

Senate Republicans blocked an expansive voting rights bill with a filibuster on Tuesday despite Democrats’ efforts to move the bill forward.

The For the People Act is one of the most comprehensive pieces of voting rights legislation to be introduced in years. It would expand and protect voting rights, create new campaign finance rules, and reform gerrymandering laws.

After the House passed the landmark legislation in March, the bill moved to the Senate where it faced severe resistance. Republicans united in opposition against the measure, using the filibuster to block it.

Senate Democrats had hoped to eliminate the legislative filibuster in order to begin debate on the bill. However, they were unable to secure the necessary 60 votes to break the filibuster.

To change the Senate rules on the number of votes required to eliminate a filibuster, Democrats needed 50 votes – meaning a vote from every single Senate Democrat in support of changing the filibuster rule. Moderate Democrats, however, such as Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), opposed changing the rule and prevented ending the filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voiced his anger at the bill’s failure but insisted that Democrats would continue the effort to defend voting rights. “Make no mistake about it, it will not be the last time voting rights comes up for debate in the Senate. … We have several serious options for how to reconsider this issue and advance legislation to combat voter suppression. We are going to explore every last one of our options,” Schumer said.

Sources: The New York Times 6/23/21; Feminist Majority Foundation 3/5/21; The Hill 6/22/21

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