Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pressed ahead with a vote on the Senate’s filibuster rule that doesn’t have enough Democratic votes to pass, NBC News reports.
Schumer vowed to hold a vote on filibuster changes after Republicans repeatedly filibustered the Democrats voting rights legislation. Holdout Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have not budged on their defense of the 60-vote threshold to end a filibuster but Schumer is moving ahead with a vote on restoring the talking filibuster with a catch.
Under old Senate rules, senators had to talk and hold the floor to continue a filibuster but the chamber decades ago switched to new rules because filibusters were taking up too much time.
Schumer will hold a vote on bringing back the talking filibuster but also plans to invoke a dormant “two-speech” rule, which limits senators to two speeches on an issue to prevent a party from taking the Senate floor hostage indefinitely.
"If the Republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, I will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation, as recommended by a number of colleagues," Schumer said.
Under his proposal, he said, "the debate will have run its course and the Senate will move to vote on final passage at a majority threshold."
Not enough votes:
Manchin said he “loves” the talking filibuster but does not support a 50-vote threshold to end debate.
"There’s never been a simple majority vote to basically get off of a debate,” he claimed.
"I've been very clear about that. I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule," Manchin said. "The majority of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus, they’ve changed their mind. I respect that. ... I haven’t. I hope they respect that, too. I’ve never changed my mind on the filibuster."
Sinema also backs the 60-vote threshold.
"The vast majority of our caucus strongly disagree with Sens. Manchin and Sinema on rules changes," Schumer said Tuesday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that Democratic filibuster changes would also allow Republicans to pass legislation with a simple majority if they retake the chamber.
"Too many of our colleagues across the aisle still want to respond to a 50-50 Senate with a rule-breaking power grab," he said Tuesday, adding that "voting to break this institution will not be a free vote or a harmless action, even if efforts fail."
"Voting to break the Senate is not cost-free, just because of a bipartisan majority of your colleagues have the wisdom to stop you," he said.