Senate Republicans Block Voting Rights Bill

Vote on For the People Act was 50-50
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2021 5:56 PM CDT
Senate Republicans Block Voting Rights Bill
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the chamber as the Senate prepares for a key test vote later on the For the People Act, Tuesday, June 22, 2021.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The biggest voting rights bill in decades met its widely expected fate in the evenly divided Senate Tuesday, with Republicans unified in opposition. Senators voted 50-50 on advancing the For the People Act, the Hill reports. Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome the GOP filibuster and advance the bill to debate. Before the vote, which was presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats delivered dire warnings about the state of US democracy, the Washington Post reports—and afterward, they vowed to keep fighting the efforts of Republican-controlled states to make it more difficult to vote. "This is a battle for the soul of America,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, per the AP. "We will keep fighting until we succeed.”

The bill, which would bring in national voting standards, passed the House in March but was denounced by Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a partisan "solution looking for a problem." In a small victory for Democrats Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin flipped his vote to a yes, ensuring unified Democratic support. The switch came after Democrats agreed to consider his compromise proposal, which includes a national voter ID requirement. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seen as a possible swing vote, said Tuesday that she supported some parts of the Democratic legislation, but the "sprawling" bill would make elections "more difficult, expensive, subject to federal micromanagement," the AP reports. Democrats may now push to abolish the filibuster, though Sen. Krysten Sinema made it clear Tuesday that she does not intend to change her position. (More voting rights stories.)

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