Senate Democrats fail to change filibuster, handing Biden stinging defeat on voting legislation

Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act failed in the Senate by 51-49.

Published: January 19, 2022 9:02pm

Updated: January 19, 2022 10:51pm

Senate Democrats failed twice on Wednesday night to pass their signature legislation to nationalize elections, handing President Joe Biden a stinging defeat that was delivered in part by two centrists in his own party. 

The second vote came late Wednesday night when the Senate refused to change the filibuster rules in a 52-48 vote.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Krysten Sinema (Ariz.) voted with Republicans to keep the filibuster rules, rejecting their party’s bid to end the 60-vote threshold for passing legislation in the chamber.

A few hours earlier, Senate Republicans, joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), voted against moving forward with the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act,

The motion to failed in the Senate by 51-49. Schumer joined Republicans "in order to enter a motion to reconsider the vote," according to the Senate Press Gallery.

Minutes before the Senate voted Schumer threatened that "if the GOP blocks this vote—we must change the rules of the Senate to pass these bills."

The bill, which was expected to fail, required 60 votes to move forward and overcome the Republican filibuster. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) complained about the legislation on Twitter. "Dems hv spent afternoon claiming 2 want to debate voting bill, claiming Rs don’t want to then they voted 4 motion 2 CUT OFF debate & amendments same day Senate took up bill w all amendments blocked by Sen Schumer," he tweeted shortly after the vote.

The act passed last week in the House along party lines by 220-203.

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