If Republicans do not allow the debate on Democrats' two voting reform bills, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is vowing to drop the Senate's 60-vote filibuster rule to proceed to the debate and the vote, regardless of Republican and Democrat opposition.
"Win, lose, or draw, members of this chamber were been elected to debate and to vote," an animated Schumer told reporters Tuesday night before potentially making a move Wednesday in the Senate. "Win, lose, or draw we are going to vote."
Republicans have been opposed to Democrats' bills, The Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement, which Schumer is pushing. Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have stood in the way of talk of lifting the filibuster solely for those two bills.
"If the Senate cannot protect the right to vote which is the cornerstone of our democracy, then the rules must be reformed," Schumer continued. "Must be reformed.
"If the Republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, I will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation as recommended by a number of our colleagues who have been working on the legislation for a long time."
Schumer called opposition to voting reforms racist, saying "racism has been a poison in America" and voting, despite opposition within his own party on lifting the filibuster, "we ain't giving up, you're going to hear from us plenty on this issue."
"We know this is an uphill fight, especially when every Senate Republican to their shame, is staunchly against any legislation to protect the right to vote," Schumer said, raising his voice during the press conference.
"Once members of the minority party have exhausted all of their speaking rights and defended their position on the Senate floor, the debate will have run its course and the Senate will move to vote on final passage at a majority threshold," Schumer added.
"I hope every senator will embrace this practical reform."
But minutes earlier, Manchin told reporters, while he "loves" the talking filibuster, he said breaking the rules to make a rule "has never happened in our country."
"I just don't know how you break a rule to make a rule," Manchin said after leaving a meeting with Senate Democrats and before Schumer's animated remarks to the media.
"The majority of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus, they've changed, they've changed their mind. I've never changed my mind on the filibuster."
If Manchin and Sinema refuse to break the filibuster, Schumer stopped short of vowing to primary them in their next reelection cycles. Both Sinema and Manchin are years away from reelection campaigns in 2024.
"I am not getting into the politics," Schumer demurred. "The vast majority of our caucus strongly disagree with Sens. Manchin and Sinema on rules changes."
But Schumer admitted "we don't have a single Republican to allow us to go forward and debate," so he is going to force the action as soon as Wednesday.
Senate rules require a 60-vote threshold to end debate and move forward on bills, including the final passage, unless the "nuclear option" of breaking the filibuster is enacted by the majority.
Democrats have 48 seats in the Senate, along with two independents that caucus with them, while Republicans have 50. Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tiebreaking vote in a 50-50 split.
"The African American community is passionate about us continuing to fight," Schumer said, going back to race. "They better than anyone know setbacks, but they don't stop fighting until they win."
A Black man from the Bronx, Joe Pinion, announced this week he is running for the GOP Senate primary aimed at challenging Schumer's seat in the Senate this November.
Pinion, a former Newsmax host, told "Spicer & Co." on Tuesday and "Greg Kelly Reports" on Wednesday he opposes Democrats' voting reform bills – putting a crimp in Schumer's argument the Black community is unified by Democrats' voting reform push.
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