McConnell blocks Schumer’s effort to set up simple majority votes on so-called ‘voting rights’ bills

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While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does not always come through for the right, on key pieces of legislation the Republican from Kentucky can still be counted on to put up stiff resistance, as seen Monday night when he blocked an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to set up simple majority votes on the Democratic Party’s sweeping “voting rights” bills.

Schumer’s offer, according to The Hill, which suggested the bills would “bolster the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” was to agree to on holding simple majority votes on nearly 20 bills that Republicans placed on the Senate calendar in exchange for allowing the two Democrat bills to advance with a simple majority instead of the normal 60 votes required. As the political news outlet noted, that would allow the “voting rights” bills to pass without any GOP votes.

“We Democrats aren’t afraid of these votes. So what I proposed to the Republican leader is that the Senate hold up-or-down votes at a majority threshold on each of the Republicans bills he has outlined tonight as well as the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Schumer said, speaking from the Senate floor.

McConnell rejected the offer without elaborating on his objection, The Hill reported, having noted that a Republican bill being added to the calendar “makes them available for a vote but doesn’t guarantee they’ll get one.”

Senate rules require signoff from the full Senate on setting up a vote on legislation, meaning any one senator can object and block the request.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., offered an apt analysis of what the Democrats’ legislation actually represents in a tweet Monday night.

“When the Democrats say ‘voting rights,’ they mean ballot harvesting, abolishing voter ID, and giving taxpayer dollars to campaigns,” Cotton tweeted. “This has nothing to do with voting rights. Instead, it’s a transparent attempt to rig elections.”

Schumer will reportedly force votes this week on the voting rights bills — the progressive left have pushed the Democrat leader to hold a vote to put pressure on Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., two moderate Democrats who have been a thorn in the party’s side when it comes to shoving their radical agenda through.

Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, are expected to use the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block those bills from advancing.

“Once that happens, Schumer has vowed to bring up changing the legislative filibuster by Jan. 17, bringing to a head months of behind-the-scenes negotiations among Democrats as they’ve tried to unify on rules changes,” The Hill reported.

Manchin and Sinema have not supported efforts to kill the filibuster

McConnell “issued a pre-emptive threat to Senate Democrats considering an overhaul of the chamber’s longstanding filibuster rule, detailing a plan to force tough votes on GOP-sponsored bills if Democrats make even modest changes,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Aides familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking say the threat is intended to cause heartburn for Democrats as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tries to unify his caucus ahead of possible votes to amend or abolish the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold in the next week,” the WSJ added.

“Since Sen. Schumer is hellbent on trying to break the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action would have immediate consequences,” McConnell said, according to the article.

Tom Tillison


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