Democrats are getting set for what could be a bitter battle with Republicans over the fate of the filibuster as they face mounting pressure to get rid of it, reports The Hill.
Democrats have invoked “Jim Crow” as a means to discredit the filibuster, a tactic that allows endless debate to stall legislation first enshrined in Senate rules in 1917. Prior to that, the Senate had no rules to end debate, and the chamber installed a 67-vote threshold to create one. That was reduced to 60 in 1975.
Now, Democrats are driving toward a tipping point on what to do about the procedural hurdle, according to the Hill.
A number of high-profile measures are set to be addressed by Democrats in June, but already appear blocked by the GOP.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer intends to force a vote on a sweeping bill to overhaul elections.
In doing so, the New York lawmaker could be setting the stage for a battle over the filibuster, according to The Hill. The bill is called the For the People Act and is also known as S.1 and H.R.1.
“In the last week of the June work period, the Senate will vote on S.1, the For the People Act, legislation that is essential to defending our democracy, reducing the influence of dark money and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression happening in the states across the country in service of President [Donald] Trump’s Big Lie,” Schumer said in a letter to the Democrats’ caucus.
But the bill has been a target of outspoken critics. And The Hill pointed out that no GOP senators have voiced support for it.
The Republicans used their first filibuster under President Joe Biden to stop a bill which would have created a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
The move just increased frustration from Democratic senators and progressives and stepped-up calls to kill the filibuster.
“I think we should not perpetuate McConnell’s bastardization of the Senate filibuster,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. told MSNBC, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
A coalition of 57 progressive groups in a joint statement said the filibuster “must be eliminated as a weapon that a minority of senators can wield to veto popular democracy-protecting bills.”
The “abolish the filibuster” movement has gained momentum in recent years as members of both parties find it difficult to reach a consensus on their priorities, especially with the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold required to pass bills through the Senate.
Meanwhile, Republicans appear confident that Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., won’t support an end to the filibuster.
“They’ve been very firm in their defense of the legislative filibuster for obvious reasons,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. “I talk to both of them a lot, and I don’t see that happening. I think they’re committed to that.”
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