OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi is going to add more pressure to Senate Democrats who do not want to change the filibuster to pass new voting legislation.
The Speaker intends to pass the “voting rights” legislation on Thursday which would then be sent to the Senate where Sens. Joe Manchin and others have expressed that they are not going to create a carve out of the filibuster to get it passed, The Daily Mail reported.
On Thursday afternoon President Joe Biden is heading to the United States Capitol to convince all 50 Democrats in the upper chamber to back it, along with trying to gin up support to change Senate rules and eliminate the filibuster so the measure could pass with just a simple majority.
The bill Pelosi hopes to pass combines the House’s John R. Lewis Act and the Senate’s Freedom to Vote Act.
A procedural vote for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act was held in the House on Wednesday evening and passed 220 – 201 along party lines, allowing it to come to the floor today.
“Yesterday, President Biden made it crystal clear that the Senate must find a path forward to enshrine critical voting rights legislation into law. Tonight, to defend our democracy, House Democrats will take a step toward sending the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to the Senate for urgent consideration,” the Speaker said in a letter to Democrat colleagues on Wednesday.
“Under the steady leadership of Chairman Jim McGovern, the House Rules Committee will meet tonight to prepare legislation for the Floor that combines key provisions of two crucial bills: the Senate’s Freedom to Vote Act and the House’s John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. After the meeting concludes, the House will convene tonight to pass the Rule for this legislation. Tomorrow, the House will pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and send it to the Senate for consideration,” she said.
“Over the last two sessions of Congress, House Democrats proudly led the charge to protect the sacred right to vote, stop the nullification of our elections and shore up the foundations of our democracy. We have twice passed H.R. 1, the For The People Act, to protect and expand voting rights, fight big money in politics, end extreme partisan gerrymandering and more. We have twice passed the H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to block future voting restrictions imposed by states with disgraceful histories of discrimination. And tomorrow, we will pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which includes many of these same critical provisions and will help restore government of, by and for the people,” the Speaker argued.
“In Georgia, President Biden delivered a clarion call to defend our democracy when he said: ‘I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic. And so, the question is, where will the institution of United States Senate stand?’” she said.
“By passing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, the Democratic House will make clear: we stand with the President – and with the people — to #FightForVotingRights.
“Nothing less than our democracy is at stake. Thank you for your committed leadership For The People in the #FightForVotingRights,” she said.
Voting rights is an interesting term to use, as Democrat do love their word games. What this is, Republicans argue, is a federal takeover of elections and there is no evidence that even if it passed the Supreme Court would not strike it down the same way it ripped apart the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Constitution gives states sovereign authority to run their own elections and federal oversight could be seen as violating that right of states.
Then what Democrats are asking senators, like Sen. Manchin who are in states that are heavily Republican, is to risk their careers to pass something that could be crushed by the Supreme Court.