For the People Act expected to fail, 'dramatic evidence' of needing filibuster reform, Hoyer says

The Democratic-led Senate is expected to take a procedural vote Tuesday on the federal election reform bill which passed the House.

Updated: June 22, 2021 - 2:16pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the expected failure of the Democrats' election reform bill, the For the People Act, on Tuesday at the hands of Senate Republicans provides "dramatic evidence" the upper chamber needs filibuster reform. 

"We need to pass the H.R. 1 voting rights bill. And one of the things that we need to do, in my view, is to prohibit the filibuster," Hoyer said on a press call with reporters before the Senate vote. "The filibuster is undemocratic. It's just like the laws that are trying to be passed throughout the country to limit voting. It undermines the will of the majority.

"The Founding Fathers honored the will of the majority. They established two houses that they thought would reflect the will of the majority, one house, the people's house, directly elected by the people, the other elected by the state legislatures, but to reflect the will of the American people. The filibuster, impedes, undermines and prohibits the will of the American people being articulated."

Hoyer said that the founders knew there were cases in which more votes were needed above a simple majority such as a two-thirds vote for amending the U.S. Constitution, a two-thirds vote in the Senate to ratify a treaty, a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto in both houses and a two-thirds vote to convict a president on an impeachment charge.

"They knew that there were times, but they were very limited times when extraordinary votes were necessary, but they believed as a general rule, the majority ought to represent the American people's view, a majority, not a super majority, not a minority, but a majority," the Maryland Democrat said. "So I'm hopeful that we will get that bill done and I'm hopeful that today's vote in the Senate, we don't expect to win it, but it will be a dramatic evidence of why the filibuster needs to be modified."

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed opposition to eliminating the legislative filibuster. Currently, a 60-vote threshold is required to advance legislation in the Senate.

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