Andrea Germanos Politics Voting

Republicans Rebuked After Torpedoing Voting Rights Bill

An "I Voted" sticker for U.S. elections.
(Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons)

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a compromise voting rights bill—the Freedom to Vote Act—sparking a deluge of criticism from Democrats and progressive groups who said it was the latest evidence of the need to get rid of, or at least reform, the filibuster.

“Like clockwork, you can always count on Senate Republicans to filibuster any attempt to make our democracy functional,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, director of democracy policy for the Indivisible Project, in a statement.

The failed procedural vote had been expected. Democrats needed 60 votes to advance the measure, but the motion received just 49; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) changed his vote to no to be able to bring it up for a later vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who opposed the more sweeping and twice-GOP-filibustered For the People Act, helped craft the Freedom to Vote Act, which Democrats unveiled last month.

Supporters of the measure say it would provide a much-needed counter to the wave of voter suppression measures in at least 19 states. Among other provisions, the Freedom to Vote Act would ban partisan gerrymandering in congressional redistricting, make Election Day a national holiday, and enact an automatic voter registration system.

According to Stand Up America executive director Christina Harvey, “Manchin has exhausted every possible means of passing this bill on a bipartisan basis, and the American public has patiently waited while he has attempted to win support from an immovable Republican caucus.”

“There is no compromise voting rights bill that will appease Senate Republicans, and today’s filibuster made that clear,” she said. “Senator Manchin tried. It didn’t work. Now, we’re out of time. The only way to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation and safeguard our freedom to vote is to end the Jim Crow filibuster.”

Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn similarly decried the filibuster as a tool “long used to stymie civil rights legislation [that] must not be abused again to defend the new Jim Crow laws being passed across the country to make it harder to vote today—particularly in Black and Brown communities.”

“We appreciate Sen. Manchin’s continued outreach to his colleagues across the aisle,” Hobert Flynn added, “but it has become abundantly clear that no amount of negotiating will get 10 Senate Republicans to support a comprehensive voting rights package by the time we need this to pass. No Senate rule should stand in the way of the freedom to vote, and senators must act with urgency to pass this bill.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also said that action is needed in the face of “Republican-led legislatures chip[ping] away at the bedrock of our democracy.”

“We applaud Senate Democrats who voted for urgently needed solutions to an unprecedented attack on voting rights. But the next step is clear,” she said in a statement. “The Senate must reform, if not end, the archaic filibuster, and pass federal legislation to protect voting rights. It is the only way forward—and inaction is simply not an option.”

8 comments

  1. What is all this nonsense about voting rights?….What does the vote bring us?….You know very well that candidates are chosen by oligarchs and corporations….Our votes mean little.

    1. Partly because so many people can’t or are not motivated to vote? Chicken and egg?

      1. Well, had there been no “right to vote” we’d be going completely off the rails right now under the flapping big mouth of you know who. So, while the oligarchs continue to rally the Neoliberal Fraternity to tighten the noose on Democracy (on things like justice for all, right to vote, assemble, welfare for the self-anointed oligarchic brethren and the ditch for all the rest of us), enough of us might get angry enough to begin putting cogs in what seems inevitable. And turn things around. Truth ultimately matters. Justice too. Like the Right To Vote in a Democracy.

      2. But look what the vote got us!….Another warmonger, sadistic treatment of immigrants (HAITIANS), preserver of Guantanamo, and most recently, he and his chosen ones praising to high heaven the criminal Colin Powell.

        Lesser Evilism?….Not so much, I daresay.

  2. “We appreciate Sen. Manchin’s continued outreach to his colleagues across the aisle,” Hobert Flynn added, “but it has become abundantly clear that no amount of negotiating….blah blah blah ” said Hobart, president of Common Cause….such 100% phony baloney masquerading as “bi partisanship” on the part of Hobart and that of el Senor Bermuda Shorts of the Luxury Yacht….her crock and his pure meanness at a time when his pretend”negotiating with the Republicans” must be called out for the pretense that it is, without garlanding it one iota . It’s curious that no one assigns the word “traitors” to this loco bunch of sociopaths hell bent on destroying the right to vote for a good chunk of the citizenry. “Traitor – a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.:”

  3. What? You expected them to not torpedo it? It’s what they do, it’s how they roll. It’s their half of the great charade we call democracy. Nothing is real and justice is purchased and if you don’t have the coin, then your the loser.

  4. Sure, we have a completely meaningless right to vote, but we have no right to elect.

    In intel circles this is called “Distraction”, you know, like the Navy chasing bullshit “UFO’s” over the Pacific
    to keep people from thinking about how badly they are being fu*ked by the gummit.

  5. Too funny! Now the execrable Manchin is the hero, eh? Has it occurred to anyone that this theater is just a way for Manchin to save face? He, along with every Dem, KNEW this would happen. The filibuster exists at the pleasure of the Democrats. Biden himself, along with Manchin and many others, don’t want the filibuster to go away. If the Dems really wanted to protect our precious voting rights, Cracker Joe and company would be demanding the end of the filibuster and would be arm-twisting continuously for the voting rights bill, among other things they claim to desperately want. Even if the Dems got the voting rights bill they wanted, what exactly are they going to run on to get people out to vote? What? You’d almost think they expect or even want to lose; that way they don’t have to do anything they said they would, and when they get whipped they can blame the evil Republicans, the Iranians, the Russians, Susan Sarandon, and the Left.

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