Stacey Abrams thinks moderate Senate Democrats will be on board with exempting voting rights legislation from the filibuster rules.
Abrams told Mother Jones, “The judicial appointment exception, the Cabinet appointment exception, the budget reconciliation exception, are all grounded in this idea that these are constitutionally prescribed responsibilities that should not be thwarted by minority imposition,” she says. “And we should add to it the right to protect democracy. It is a foundational principle in our country. And it is an explicit role and responsibility accorded only to Congress in the elections clause in the Constitution.”
The Abrams plan is for Democrats to use the filibuster exemption narrowly on voting rights bills like the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Democrats in the Senate universally support the voting rights bills, and there is universal consensus on changing the filibuster rules without gutting the filibuster.
It is a simple change that would allow the filibuster to stay and voting rights to be protected.
The timing of the move will be the big question for Democrats. State Republicans around the country are trying to pass massive voter suppression bills. There are bills in 42 states to limit the right to vote. Democrats would be best served strategically by letting Republicans pass their bills, then passing legislation to protect voting rights because it would give Republicans less time to challenge the legislation in court before the 2022 election.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Act will give the DOJ the power to fully prosecute voting rights cases again, and The For The People Act is the biggest protection of voting rights since the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
Senate Democrats can pass voting rights legislation and keep the filibuster. The question is not if they should do it, but when.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association