OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A frustrated Sen. Bernie Sanders called out two Democratic colleagues by name in a Monday tweet in another attempt to pressure them into supporting efforts to kill the Senate filibuster in order to pass voting reform legislation that has become the party’s new priority.
So far, Senate Republicans have remained unified in their opposition to a series of voting reform bills they say are designed to ‘federalize’ most elections and overturn state-passed ballot integrity measures such as requiring an ID to cast a ballot.
Also, in the 50-50 chamber, voting rights measures would need 60 votes to pass the legislation, Fox News reported.
Nevertheless, Sanders pressed both colleagues in a tweet on Monday, appearing to suggest they were siding with Republicans in their opposition to ditching the filibuster rule.
“As the voting rights bill finally comes to the floor of the Senate, there is only one vote which will really matter,” Sanders wrote. “Will 50 Democrats vote to override the filibuster, protect American democracy and pass the bill, or will Manchin and Sinema vote with the GOP and let the bill die?”
As the voting rights bill finally comes to the floor of the Senate, there is only one vote which will really matter. Will 50 Democrats vote to override the filibuster, protect American democracy and pass the bill, or will Manchin and Sinema vote with the GOP and let the bill die?
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 17, 2022
Ties in the Senate would be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris; the chamber is expected to take up debate on the voting reform bills Tuesday with a final vote on Wednesday. According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to force a filibuster vote at that time, again, in an effort to pressure Arizona’s Sinema and West Virginia’s Manchin to cave.
Fox News added:
Late last month, President Biden said he would support an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rule when it comes to the wide-ranging election and campaign finance reform bill that passed the Democrat-controlled House earlier this year but hit a roadblock in the Senate.
His comments were quickly picked up by news outlets. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board joked, “An ‘exception’ to the filibuster? This is like an engineer saying he merely wants to remove a section of the Hoover Dam.”
Schumer, like other Democrats, has been vocal in his determination to bring the matter to a vote.
“Make no mistake, the United States Senate will — for the first time this Congress —debate voting rights legislation beginning on Tuesday. Members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, particularly on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as this one. And we will proceed,” Schumer said last week, according to the New York Post.
Sanders has lashed out before at Manchin and Sinema during negotiations last month regarding President Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” legislation after both said they could not support the multitrillion-dollar spending bill because it would worsen inflation and raise taxes, among other things.
“I respect other people’s points of view, but I do not respect the arrogance of any member of the senate who says, ‘You know what? I’m going to torpedo this entire bill, supported overwhelmingly by the American people…,’” he told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
“You’ve got two people saying, ‘You know what? Hey, if you don’t do it my way – I don’t care what the president wants, I don’t care what 48 of my colleagues want – it’s my way or the highway.’ And that, I regard as arrogance,” he said.
“You have 48 people in the Democratic caucus who are prepared, and a president of the United States prepared to think big. And you have two Democrats who, in my view, are kind of acting like Republicans,’” he added.