Senate Democrats meet with moderate holdouts on voting rights
Washington DC - Senate Democrats met with moderate lawmakers on Wednesday to push for a deal that could allow passage of voting rights legislation before a self-imposed deadline, but there was little sign of a breakthrough.
Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer and nine colleagues met for an hour with Senator Joe Manchin, and others met for even longer with Senator Kyrsten Sinema in hopes of finding a way of convincing their fellow democrats to pass the sweeping measures with a simple majority vote.
Schumer called the meetings "serious, long, and intense." But he conceded there was no deal in sight.
"We’re not there yet," he said. "I wouldn’t wanna delude anybody into thinking this is easy."
The push comes as Schumer vows to bring the measures up for votes in the Senate this week ahead of Monday’s national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also says he will also hold a vote or votes on tweaking the Senate rules, even if it puts Manchin and Sinema in a tough political spot.
President Joe Biden raised the political heat on fellow Democrats Tuesday when he for the first time called for changing the Senate’s filibuster rule to allow voting rights bills to pass with a simple majority.
Along with Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden said the new measures are needed to safeguard American democracy after the January 6 attack on the Capitol and former President Trump’s campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 elections.
Both Manchin and Sinema have repeatedly said they will not back eliminating the filibuster. But they have not 100% ruled out some kind of carve out for expanding rights or a one-time exception to the rule, keeping some hope alive that a deal is possible.
Republicans are united in lockstep opposition against any change in the Senate rules and mostly also oppose the new voting laws.
Cover photo: IMAGO/MediaPunch