After months of negotiations and failed compromises, President Biden’s beloved voting legislation will conclusively not be getting through the Senate, thanks to Democrats Joe Manchin and Kysten Sinema. The Democrats had hoped to use the “nuclear option” to overcome Republican opposition to their agenda and eliminate the filibuster, which would have allowed them to pass the legislation with a simple majority of senators.
Voting bills killed in the Senate
The legislation would have allowed Democrats to use the federal government to take control of elections from the states and gut any common sense measures put in place to prevent voter fraud.
The claim was that Republican state legislatures have been enacting new policies which will somehow prevent minorities from voting.
The fact check on this is that voting is very easy and accessible in every state, probably too easy and accessible. Chuck Schumer and other Senate Democrats have declared that opposing the bills means opposing voting rights and democracy.
Senators Manchin and Sinema have said that they support the bills in theory, but that they will not allow Schumer to use the nuclear option and end the filibuster to pass them.
Manchin, known for being the most moderate of the Senate Democrats, says that ending the filibuster would mean opening the door to radical policy swings.
Manchin rejects end to filibuster
By protecting the Senate minority and making it more difficult for the majority to pass legislation approved by only one party, Manchin thinks the filibuster forces the parties to cooperate and moderate to pass legislation.
That may or may not be true, but the 60 vote threshold does make it much more difficult for a party to accomplish its agenda, and in this case the agenda is not a good one.
The furious reaction to Manchin and Sinema from other Democrats indicates the size of the bullet America just dodged by stopping the bills.
Biden says that the Senate “has failed to stand up for our democracy.” He says that the White House will not give up on trying to force the legislation through Congress.
The Democrats could have used the bills to acquire extra votes for their candidates in key states and districts. Instead, the party will have to settle for painting the GOP as an anti-democratic party for stopping those bills.
The defeat is a massive blow for Biden, who was touting his achievements and declaring that he has exceeded expectations even as Manchin and Sinema killed his cherished election overhaul agenda.