From the desk of John Lopez: There’s a lot of confusion on exactly what with voting rights was successfully filibustered by Republicans in the U.S. Senate. If you think it was the H.R. 1 or S. 1 legislation, please read why you’re wrong.
Whether FOX News, elected officials, candidates or the public, there is a lot of misinformation about what exactly was filibustered yesterday. While the grid of senators voting on cloture is useless, given it was a 50-50 outcome and in spite of Vice President Kamala Harris, in her role as president of the Senate presided, no tiebreaking vote on a cloture vote where 60 votes needed, please note the title.
In Congress.gov, S. 2093 is labeled the “For the People Act of 2021”. So is S. 1, as well as H.R. 1, which on March 3 passed the U.S. House on a nearly straight party line vote of 220-210, with one Democrat (Bennie Thompson, MS-02) voting against it.
S. 1 only had 49 cosponsors, all Democrats. Who was the holdout?
Here’s the Deal that was Filibustered
Prior to Tuesday’s cloture vote, a deal was struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV), addressing the issues Manchin had with H.R. 1/S. 1 and why he would not vote in favor of the original S. 1, or the version passed out of the House in early March.
According to media report in The Hill:
“Under the deal, Manchin will provide a 50th Democratic vote on advancing the For the People Act, though it will still fail to overcome Tuesday’s procedural hurdle because of a GOP filibuster that requires 60 votes. But being unified, Democrats hope, will keep the focus on GOP opposition to the bill.
“Schumer said…he would give Manchin a vote on his proposal as a substitute amendment in exchange for voting “yes” on Tuesday. It would be the first amendment considered.”“Manchin, Schumer strike deal ahead of election bill vote” The Hill, 6/22/21
As The Hill excerpt stated, yesterday’s cloture vote was about keeping Senate Republicans on record opposing S. 2093 version of H.R. 1/ S. 1, and alleged “voter suppression” along with what some states are doing on voter integrity.
Senate Republicans are also keeping the political pressure, though constitutional concerns, like the administration/operation of elections set by the states, per the 10th Amendment, favors Republicans. Manchin’s changes keep the federal takeover of elections intact.
Putting the politics aside, what are the specifics Manchin wants to change from the House-passed version of the For The People Act? The Hill highlighted Manchin wants in the deal that was struck:
- No public financing of campaigns
- Eliminate “No excuse absentee voting”
- Implement national voter ID, but not necessarily photo-ID-voter-ID
Additional information from negotiations with Manchin can be found here, but any additional conditions were not revealed as part of yesterday’s deal between Manchin and Schumer.
Even if Manchin obtained Senate approval to his highlighted changes, one must wonder when the House had to vote on the amended legislation, if all of the Democrats would stick together for passage.
The country may never find that out, but clearly, the Democrats are taking their stance in Washington, and Republicans within the states, on election integrity and voting rights.
To be decided by November 8, 2022.