After every single Republican blocked debate on the Right To Vote Act, Majority Leader Schumer told his colleagues to pass voting rights or watch democracy unravel.
Schumer said on the Senate floor:
At the time, the Congress set to work on granting newly-freed slaves the basic freedoms that had long been denied to them. These freedoms were eventually enshrined in the 14th and 15th amendments, granting due process and the right to vote to all citizens regardless of color or race.
Today, these amendments rank as some of the greatest and most revered accomplishments in Congressional history. They are proof that our country is capable of living up to its founding promise, if we are willing to put in the work.
But at the time, the minority party in both chambers refused to offer a single vote for any of the civil rights legislation put forward during Reconstruction. Not one vote. Not one vote. They argued these bills represented nothing more than the partisan interests of the majority—a power grab, they said, from vengeful northerners.
But that didn’t stop the majority. If expanding basic freedoms meant going it alone, that was something they were willing to do. Today, we feel the same way.
To the patriots after the Civil War, this wasn’t partisan—it was patriotic, and American Democracy is better off today because the patriots in this chamber at that time were undeterred by minority obstruction. Again, today we feel the same way.
Today, the question before the Senate is how we will find a path forward on protecting our freedoms in the 21st century.
Members of this body now face a choice—they can follow in the footsteps of our patriotic predecessors in this chamber. Or they can sit by as the fabric of our democracy unravels before our very eyes.
This is the first time on the Senate floor that Majority Leader Schumer has explicitly talked about Democrats going it alone to pass voting rights.
Schumer is making it clear that Democrats are trying to save democracy, and if Manchin and Sinema stand in their way, the responsibility will be on them.
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
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