Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the Freedom To Vote Act up for a vote to trigger the steps towards filibuster reform.
January Will Be A Big Month For Filibuster Reform
Schumer will begin talking about the path forward on voting rights and the filibuster today. Schumer will push the Freedom to Vote Act, which is backed by all 50 Senate Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Republicans will block Senate action on the bill, which will then trigger the debate over filibustering. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have opposed eliminating the 60-vote threshold for cloture, meaning Schumer is short the votes he needs to gut the filibuster.
However, Senate Democrats have been lobbying the pair privately for months on a potential “carve-out” for voting rights bills. Other proposals include making it tougher to conduct filibusters, or bringing back the “talking filibuster,” which would require opponents of a bill to be on the floor actively debating it.
Democrats Have The Support To Change The Filibuster, But Not Kill It
The filibuster discussion gets complicated because Manchin and Sinema have made it that way. They both have been steadfast in refusing to gut or end the filibuster. However, they both have at various times left the door open to changing how the filibuster operates.
There is universal support among the Democratic for not allowing Senators to phone in a filibuster. It would be a dramatic change if a filibustering senator were forced to keep the Senate floor to kill a bill. Imagine Sen. Ted Cruz trying to block voting rights, but he can only do so by holding the Senate floor non-stop for days.
If Republicans stopped their filibuster, the 60 vote rule would be broken, and Democrats could pass legislation with a simple majority.
A voting rights carve out could happen with some wheeling and dealing among Democrats, but a rules change for how the filibuster works is about to get a big push.
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