Senate Republicans block debate on John Lewis Voting Rights Act, despite plea from Schumer
Senators voted 50-49 mostly along party lines, falling short of the 60 vote threshold to overcome the Senate's filibuster rule governing debate.
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Senate Republicans prevented the chamber from debating the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on Wednesday, despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's insistence discussing it.
The measure is meant to replace a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
According to The Hill, Senators voted 50-49 mostly along party lines, falling short of the 60 vote threshold to overcome the Senate's filibuster rule governing debate.
Vice-President Kamala Harris presided over part of the vote in the Senate, while Schumer voted with the Republicans to prevent debate which is a procedural move so he can bring it up again at a later time.
However, this time around Democrats picked up Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who voted with them to initiate debate on the topic of voting rights.
Both Murkowski and Sen. Joe Manchin have negotiated over the content of the bill for the past few weeks, reaching a compromise with more progressive Democrats.
"Ensuring our elections are fair, accessible and secure is essential to restoring the American people’s faith in our Democracy. That’s why my colleagues and I have come together to introduce the bipartisan John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act," said Manchin in a statement.
Schumer previously vowed that if Republicans voted to open debate on the bill, he would allow them to submit amendments on the floor of the Senate, which is typically not allowed.
"I want to emphasize once again what today’s vote is about. We are not asking any Republican to support specific legislation. Today is about whether or not we will vote to begin debate here in this chamber," Schumer said on the floor of the Senate.
Despite Schumer's efforts, Democrats didn't have enough votes to overcome the Republican filibuster.
"There is nothing to suggest a sprawling federal takeover is necessary. Nationalizing our elections is just a multidecade Democratic Party goal in constant search of a justification," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday. "The Senate will reject this go-nowhere bill today like we’ve rejected every other piece of fruit from this same poisonous tree."
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