Schumer’s latest ‘Hail Mary’ is a ‘talking filibuster’ proposal, but there’s a big ‘but’ in the way

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., forged ahead Tuesday with the media-enabled guise that the Senate must act to “protect the right to vote” — there is no threat to the right to vote in America, with the last election seeing a record turnout.

In this noble quest, which Schumer lacks the votes to advance, the majority leader spoke of his continued his efforts to alter Senate rules at a press conference Tuesday. Democrats are looking to force passage of their so-called voter rights legislation, a pair of bills that essentially strips states of the right to manage elections, as stated in the U.S. Constitution. Legislation that amounts to a naked power grab by the party.

“If the Senate cannot protect the right to vote, which is the cornerstone of our democracy, then the Senate rules must be reformed — must be reformed,” Schumer declared. “If the Republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, I will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation.”

“We feel very simply: On something as important as voting rights if Senate Republicans are going to oppose it, they should not be allowed to sit in their office,’ Schumer said. “They’ve got to come down on the floor and defend their opposition to voting rights, the wellspring of our democracy.”

Filibusters have been “silent,” meaning the minority party makes its intent known and the majority leader doesn’t bring legislation to the floor because it will not have the 60 votes necessary to break the filibuster. A “talking filibuster” requires senators to speak on the Senate floor to draw out the debate process.

The problem for Schumer is that he doesn’t have the votes here either, given the Senate’s 50-50 split and opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to working around a filibuster — left-leaning Salon aptly referred to Schumer’s talking filibuster stunt as a “Hail Mary” attempt.

“That has never happened, that has never happened in the history of our country,” Manchin told reporters. “I just don’t know how you break a rule to make a rule.”

Politico reporter Burgess Everett shared Manchin’s opposition in a tweet, and the moderate senator’s dismissal of the threat of a primary challenge motivating him:

Barring an unforeseen miracle, the Democrats Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will remain stalled, which showcases Schumer’s ineptitude to advance the party’s agenda.

Schumer is looking to proceed to a vote to put pressure on Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who also opposes doing away with the filibuster — the radical left elements of the party are pressing for such votes and with a possible primary challenge from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hanging over his head, the majority leader is in no position to disappoint.

“When this chamber confronts a question this important, one so vital to our country, so vital to our ideals, so vital to the future of our democracy, you don’t slide it off the table and say never mind. Win, lose or draw, members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, especially on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as voting rights,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

“The eyes of the nation will be watching what happens this week in the United States Senate,” Schumer said. “The public is entitled to know where each senator stands on an issue as sacrosanct as defending our democracy. The American people deserve to see their senators go on record.”


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Tom Tillison


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