Reprinted with permission from AlterNet
On Tuesday evening Senate Republicans killed debate on the For the People Act, a key component of Democrats' agenda to protect democracy, expand and strengthen voting rights, and reduce the influence of dark money in elections. As Senators were voting on the motion to begin debate on the bill, news broke that the GOP Whip, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota had announced another critical piece of Democratic legislation, the infrastructure bill, was even further in doubt.
GOP Senators appeared to be orchestrating a complete and total shutdown of key legislation critical to President Joe Biden's progressive agenda.
Democratic Majority Leader Schumer immediately denounced Republicans' "blockade."
Sen. Thune also said Republicans would oppose a slimmed down version of a voting rights bill:
Thune contradicts Blunt when asked just now if GOP leadership would come out against narrower measures like the VRA… https://t.co/HdFGI3L8Cp— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender)1624399129.0
60 votes were required to begin debate on the voting rights bill. The motion failed in a 50-50 vote. As voting was taking place GOP Minority Leader Mitch mcConnell could be seen huddling with other top Republican Senators including John Cornyn of Texas and John Kennedy of Louisiana.
The only option to pass the bill now would be for a simple majority of Senators agree to kill the 60-vote filibuster. Some are supporting a modification to 55 votes. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had steadfastly refused to support killing the filibuster.
"This is a dark day in this country," Al Sharpton said on MSNBC.
"This is a dark day for Republicans," host Nicolle Wallace replied. "Republicans won't just walk over norms, they will burn them down," she told host Ari Melber during the handoff.
Voting rights expert Ari Berman weighed in, chastising the GOP: