Pouring salt on wounded Democrats, Senate Republicans on Wednesday again blocked efforts to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The bill aims to quash voter suppression and the repression laws enacted in GOP-led states such as Texas and Georgia.
Named after the late Georgia Democratic congressman who spent much of his life fighting for civil and equal rights, the bill has overwhelming public support.
Because of the Jim Crow-inspired filibuster rule, Democrats need the party’s 50 senators and at least 10 Republican colleagues to pass the measure.
“I will be among those who vote to begin debate on this measure when we have this vote,” said Republican Sen. Lisa Markowski of Alaska. “I will do so because I strongly support and I believe that Congress should enact a bipartisan, re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act.”
But her GOP colleagues differ.
“This is a Trojan horse to carry a lot of other provisions that the Democrats had wanted to enact through the earlier voting rights bill that we’ve already considered and rejected,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
“Clearly they want to change the subject away from how the American people feel about this administration, about the reckless tax and spending bill onto a non-existent problem with this marching out of the John Lewis voting rights act,” McConnell said, failing to acknowledge that Democrats had attempted to pass the voting rights act since before President Joe Biden won the 2020 election over Donald Trump.
The measure’s defeat came as Democrats attempted to regroup after the party’s catastrophic loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race, in which upstart Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in that race.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy continues to hope he holds onto his razor-thin lead against Republican Jack Ciattarelli. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Murphy held a 49.9 percent to 49.3 percent lead with 86% of the vote counted.
Unless Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona soften their stance against altering or ridding the filibuster rule, there’s virtually no chance any bill that aims to curb voter suppression would pass.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced the latest Senate version of the legislation. In addition, Leahy, Manchin, Murkowski and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois released a compromised version of the John Lewis Voting Rights bill that appeared to gain momentum in the chamber.
However, after the GOP’s election night victories, Republicans appear to have little appetite for pushing the bill forward.