The Democratic attempt to totally overhaul the American voting system with the “For the People Act” was stopped dead in its tracks on Tuesday after a Republican filibuster blocked it from passing in the Senate. The blocking of this bill deals a major legislative defeat to the Democrats, who have been eyeing this political power grab since Joe Biden took office.
The 800-page behemoth would have overridden state coting laws and federalized the voting system in this country, a political stunt labeled as a power grab by Republicans. All 50 Republicans voted to derail the bill, leaving it 10 votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster.
The bill was named the “For the People Act” yet its support and lack thereof fell pretty squarely along party lines, with blanket Republican opposition and Democratic support. Each party accused the other of attempting to rig future elections in their favor.
The “For the People Act” would have also allowed Democrats to overturn voting laws recently passed in Republican-led states, like those passed in Georgia. These laws were widely criticized on the left for their supposed attempt to make it more difficult for minority communities to vote.
Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took the opportunity to take a swipe at opportunity and again paint this with the brush of voter suppression.
“Voter suppression has become the official platform of the Republican Party,” an angry Senate Minority Leader Schumer said moments after the vote. He promised that Democrats will continue to try to undo voting laws enacted by states by federalizing the voting system.
“We will not let it go. We will not let it die,” Schumer said.
Republicans were not shy about touting the bill as having no chance of passing in a 50-50 Senate, and Democrats made no serious overtures to work with Republicans on a bipartisan bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) characterized the bill as “a transparently partisan plan to tilt every election in America permanently in their favor.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) had some staunch criticism of the bill saying “this bill was written in hell by the devil himself” on an appearance he made on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night after the bill met its demise. Lee went on to describe the victory as a “victory for the angels” highlighting his support for opposing such measures now and in the future.
Lee also went on to uphold a common Republican idea that this bill wouldn’t actually make it easier to vote but instead it would make it easier to vote illegally, taking the power away from the states to draft and enforce their own voting laws, such as requiring ID for those voting in person.
The Democrats also made an attempt to go after the Senate filibuster which was thought would not receive the support of two key Democrat Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kristen Sinema of Arizona. When the rubber hit the road only Sinema stood in opposition to keep the filibuster in place, stating her support for it is “based on what is best for our democracy’.
Sinema wrote that we “have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster,” adding that the “best way to achieve durable, lasting results” is “bipartisan cooperation.”
She added, “I understand bipartisanship seems outdated to many pundits. But the difficult work of collaboration is what we expect in Arizona. And I still believe it is the best way to identify realistic solutions — instead of escalating all-or-nothing political battles that result in no action, or in whipsawing federal policy reversals.”
More and more it appears our government is becoming more partisan than perhaps ever before, which continues to tear at the seems of democracy and rendering the people, who the power is said to reside with, increasingly powerless.