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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Voting Rights

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders said that by vowing to uphold the archaic Senate rule standing in the way of voting rights legislation, his Senate colleagues Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are putting "the future of American democracy" at risk.

"It is a sad day when two members of the Democratic caucus are prepared to allow the Freedom to Vote Act to fail," the Vermont senator tweeted on Friday "I hope very much they will reconsider their positions."

Sinema and Manchin's opposition to weakening the 60-vote filibuster rule—a stance they reiterated last Thursday—effectively tanks their party's hopes of passing voting rights legislation to thwart the GOP's mass disenfranchisement and election subversion efforts in states across the country.

Despite the likelihood of failure, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) said the Senate will debate the newly assembled Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act on Tuesday, a day after the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

"If Senate Republicans choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote—as we expect them to—the Senate will consider and vote on changing the Senate rules, as has been done many times before, to allow for passage of voting rights legislation," Schumer said in a floor speech after Sinema made clear she would not back any such changes, intensifying calls for a 2024 primary challenge.

The support of every member of the Senate Democratic caucus and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris would be needed to enact a rule change.

With federal action likely not forthcoming, local Democratic officials and activists "now say they are resigned to having to spend and organize their way around" the slew of fresh Republican-authored voting restrictions, the New York Times reported, "a prospect many view with hard-earned skepticism."

In a July letter to President Joe Biden, a coalition of 150 civil rights organizations wrote that "while we support the notion of a broad-based coalition of advocates, we cannot and should not have to organize our way out of the attacks and restrictions on voting that lawmakers are passing and proposing at the state level."

"Nor can we litigate our way out of this threat to democracy," the groups warned. "We must remember that at critical times in our history, one party has been forced to act alone in securing the fundamental democratic rights of American citizens, including Congress' passage of both the 14th and 15th Amendments. Any rule or procedure that functions to stop bills from ever being considered on the floor is not a procedure to promote debate; it is a procedure to promote gridlock."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News' Peter Doocy

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ended the week with yet another smack down of Peter Doocy, as the Fox News reporter admitted there are Republicans who "don't agree with voting rights."

"As you talked about a year ago and working with Republicans, now [President Biden] is talking about Republicans that don't agree with voting rights," Doocy complained, "he's describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis. What happened to the guy who, when he was elected said: 'To make progress me must stop treating our opponents as our enemy'?"

Doocy was referring to President Joe Biden's widely praised speech in support of voting rights earlier this week, referencing civil rights icons and their infamous white supremacist and segregationist opponents.

"Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?" Biden asked, to the anger of many conservatives. "Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy."

Psaki as usual was prepared to respond – suggesting Doocy was not "speaking on the level."

"I think everybody listening to that speech, who's speaking on the level, as my mother would say, would note that he was not comparing them as humans. He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they're going to position themselves, if they as it – as they determine whether they're going to support the fundamental right to vote or not."

Watch:

Reprinted with permission from Alternet