Senate Republicans block voting rights reform bill in 50-50 vote

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights reform bill titled For the People Act in an evenly split vote. The Senate voted 50-50 along party lines, with Democrats failing to secure the 60 votes necessary to avoid a Republican filibuster on the procedural vote to open debate on the bill.

The For the People Act features a wide range of provisions aimed at expanding access to ballots, including automatic voter registration for all who are eligible and ensuring the right to vote for those who have completed felony sentences, enhancing federal support for voting security and tightening fundraising rules for super PACs.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell characterized the bill as a power grab by Democrats, saying, “At the end of the day which concocted crisis Democrats use as a justification for their top legislative priority doesn’t make much difference. They’ve made it abundantly clear that the real driving force behind S.1 is a desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently in Democrats’ favor.”  However, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the Republican opposition to the bill “indefensible,” saying that members of the GOP had aligned themselves with former President Donald Trump, who claimed without evidence that widespread voter fraud led to his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who presided over the vote, said that “the fight is not over” as she and President Joe Biden will continue to push for voting reform including the more moderate John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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