Senate Republicans on Tuesday used the filibuster to block debate on the Democrats’ big voting rights bill, NBC News reports.
The Senate split 50-50 down party lines, falling short of the 60 votes necessary to defeat a filibuster and begin debate on the “For the People Act.”
Democrats have championed the bill as a necessary response to the plethora of voting restrictions and bills aimed at making it easier to overturn elections in Republican-led state legislatures, and includes many provisions codifying voting rights, cracking down on dark money, and imposing new election administration requirements.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill “a solution looking for a problem” and vowed to “put an end to it.”
Democrats, meanwhile, ramped up calls to eliminate or reform the filibuster to advance the legislation with a simple majority. Centrist Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have strongly opposed changes to the filibuster rule.
Manchin backs debate:
Even Manchin voted to start debate despite publicly opposing the bill.
Manchin said he agreed to start debate after receiving assurances that the Senate would consider a compromise version of the bill that he could support.
"Today I will vote ‘YES’ to move to debate this updated voting legislation as a substitute amendment to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and participate in our great democracy," Manchin said in a statement.
“We’ll keep talking,” Manchin told reporters after the vote. “You can’t give up. You really can't.”
Dems vow to press forward:
“This fight is far from over,” President Joe Biden declared after the vote, even though he doesn’t support filibuster reform, which appears to be the only way the bill can move forward.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote “the starting gun, not the finish line” and vowed he would “not let it die.”
"We have several, serious options for how to reconsider this issue and advance legislation to combat voter suppression. We are going to explore every, last one of our options," he said after the vote. "We have to. Voting rights are too important."