Senate Democrats are preparing for a defeat as their Republican colleagues unite to kill the For the People Act, a voting and election reform bill that Democrats have made a top priority. Republicans have called the bill a partisan exercise and Democrats have faced opposition from within their own party, most notably from Senator Joe Manchin (W. Va.), who recently put forward several compromises that received support from prominent leaders such as voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams.
Today’s vote is a procedural vote on whether to begin debate on the bill and would need 60 votes to succeed, a threshold that it is not expected to meet even if Democrats manage to secure votes from everyone in their caucus. Republicans appear united against the bill and it is unlikely 10 Republicans would break away to support it.
Last night, Manchin said he was still unsure whether he would vote to advance the bill.
“I got to see. I hope they make some changes or agree to some changes,” Manchin said. “I think we put out an awful lot of good changes, I think, hopefully, the country would agree… that makes a lot of sense for a lot of voters.”
The congressional fight over the legislation has once again prompted calls to abolish the filibuster, which progressives say is critical if Democrats wish to enact their agenda.
Yesterday, the White House, via press secretary Jen Psaki, signaled it is open to revisiting the filibuster.
“As it relates to the filibuster, I don’t think you have to take it from us, that would be Congress moving forward — or making a decision,” she said in response to a question about the Senate debate on the bill. “If the vote is unsuccessful tomorrow, we suspect it will prompt a new conversation about the path forward. And we’ll see where that goes.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.