Democratic lawmakers have spent months pushing a voter reform act known as the “For the People Act” that would essentially nationalize all elections and impose federal standards on voting procedures.
An attempt to move that legislation through the Senate failed this week, however, when an evenly divided chamber voted along party lines and Democrats failed to achieve the 60-vote threshold needed to advance the measure for debate.
Republicans stand united
According to The Hill, Senate Republicans are now catching flak from the other side of the aisle and some mainstream media figures for standing united in opposition to the bill and using the filibuster to block its progress.
Of course, even a few moderate Democrats — most notably, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — expressed their own misgivings about the partisan bill, and party leaders were called in to cajole them into ultimately supporting it.
Fox News reported that Manchin reached an agreement with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shortly before the vote on the condition that a narrower and less controversial compromise he proposed would be the first amendment brought up for debate.
The West Virginia Democrat’s deal with Schumer meant the party had all 50 of its members lined up in support of the legislation, but that fell well short of the 60 needed to close clear the filibuster hurdle.
By effectively wielding the procedural tool to their advantage, Republicans have likely added fuel to the fire among progressives clamoring to bring an end to the filibuster altogether.
“A brazen power grab”
With the filibuster out of the way, Democrats would only need to achieve 51 votes to advance a piece of legislation.
Nevertheless, prominent Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are heralding the latest effort to stymie the other party’s progressive agenda.
“This is a huge win for the citizens of the United States,” he said. “This is a huge win for democracy, and it’s a huge win for the integrity of elections.”
In his statement on the matter, Cruz called the legislation the “Corrupt Politicians Act” and detailed the ways he believes it would negatively impact the electoral system.
Lambasting it as “the most dangerous legislation” presented during his terms in office, the senator called it “an attempt by Senate Democrats of a brazen power grab to federalize elections and to ensure Democrats won’t lose control for the next 100 years.”