Amid the battle for electoral changes in the United States, Democrats suffered a defeat on Tuesday (22) after Republicans blocked the Senate from voting on a bill to ensure access to the vote.
In a session chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris – who heads the House – Republicans managed to garner support from Democrats from all party members, who occupy 50 of the 100 seats, which was not enough to get the 60 votes needed. move the discussion on the project forward. Under the Senate obstruction rule, known as “systematic obstruction”, this number of votes must be met to advance a measure against senators’ objections.
Defeat was already expected, and the union between Democrats only came after the most conservative of them, Joe Manchin, agreed to support discussion of the bill on Tuesday. Hours before the vote, he voted in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who had agreed to present the amendment proposed by his fellow Democrat as the first to be considered if the debate was advancing.
In a speech just before the vote, Schumer urged his colleagues to discuss the law against what he called the biggest attack on access to votes in 80 years and to oppose “the man who has lied, we all know he lied, you know he lied about the election, ”referring to former President Donald Trump.
After the result, the Democratic leader said Tuesday’s decision is not the “finish line” in the fight for access to the vote, but the starting point.
Manchin has become the centerpiece of the discussion after making it clear that he will not support the so-called Law for the People, proposed by his party, with the backing of Joe Biden and Kamala, to carry out sweeping electoral reform in the country – the vice president was appointed by the president to lead the White House’s efforts to pass the legislation. If approved, the law would revoke a series of voting restrictions approved in Republican states that primarily affect blacks and the poor.
Lawmakers in Donald Trump’s party were encouraged by a base that adopted the former president’s unproven claims that there was voter fraud last year. However, Republican attorney himself, William Barr, dismissed the theory in December.
Among the elements proposed in Democratic legislation are the granting of 15 days of early voting and the repeal of strict voter identification requirements in states, allowing those who have voted in federal elections to present a sworn statement to the government. place of an identity document.
Manchin’s argument was that no election law should be a partisan move, but rather a construct between the two sides of American politics, to protect, not “divide or destroy” the United States.
So he made an alternative proposal, which was to make Election Day a public holiday – which Republicans oppose – and require voter identification at the time of voting – a measure Democrats did not want. enforce.
“Last month I worked to eliminate the sweeping provisions of S.1, the law for the people – which I do not support,” Manchin said in a statement Tuesday. “I have found common ground with my fellow Democrats in a new version of the bill that ensures our elections are fair, accessible and secure.”
About an hour before the vote, Biden posted on the President’s official Twitter profile that he had spoken with Schumer to align the strategy for passing the legislation, signaling the Democratic Party’s unity on the issue.
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, co-author of the bill, also said on Monday that he would support Manchin’s proposed change if it meant unanimous support from Democrats. “I think any plan that gives us those 50 votes tomorrow, 50 plus one with the vice president, will be an important signal to the American people,” he told US broadcaster CNN.
He also appealed to rivals. “This law is about getting more people to vote, not less. And I hope we can get some Republicans to approve it. “
Even with the changes, however, Republicans remained united and prevented the discussion from voting. Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously spoken out against the legislation, which he described as a “clear plan to tip every election in the United States permanently in his favor.” [dos democratas]”, According to CNN.
He also said the proposal would allow rivals to “bring a red pen to election laws in each of the 50 states that override voter identification and vote collection laws.”
McConnell had also promised to use the “filibuster” the way America’s Founding Fathers envisioned him. “The Senate is only an obstacle when the policy is flawed and the process is rotten. And that is exactly why this mechanism exists. Today, the Senate will fulfill our founding purpose, stop the party takeover, and mirror the S-1 [Lei para o Povo]”He said earlier.
He pointed to the many Democrats who advocate weakening the obstruction so that they can pass the bill within “the narrowest margins possible,” which he said would be a mistake as election laws would have to be passed. on a bipartite basis.
The measure also divides Democrats, as some of them want to end the rule. Manchin, for example, is against ending the standard.
Even though this is a defeat, Democrats hope they can show that even rallying the entire party around the most moderate suggestion was not enough to garner support from Republicans and that Manchin must change. opinion on the obstruction if he wants to pass the project. itself – and all the others subject to the mechanism, that is, those which do not involve a budget.