In a statement Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said he will conditionally support proposed changes to Senate filibuster rules.
“If campaign finance and voting rights reforms are blocked again this week, I will support the proposed changes to pass them with a majority vote,” Kelly said. “Protecting the vote-by-mail system used by a majority of Arizonans and getting dark money out of our elections is too important to let fall victim to Washington dysfunction."
The Senate took up two pieces of voting legislation on Tuesday that are facing steep opposition from Republicans in the chamber. Both bills need 60 votes to pass as the rules currently stand, and, with no GOP support, the White House has advocated for changing the Senate rules to bypass the filibuster and get the legislation passed with a simple majority.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have both said that they support the legislation but do not support changing the filibuster rules, and Democrats won’t have the votes to pass the bills without them.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s family observed the holiday honoring the late civil rights leader on Monday by calling on the Senate to pass the voting legislation, calling out Manchin and Sinema in public remarks, Newsweek reported.
"Sen. Sinema, Sen. Manchin, our future hinges on your decision, and history will remember what choice you make," King's 13-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, said during a news conference in Washington, D.C.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed to eliminate racial discrimination in voting laws. Democrats say the bills currently being considered in the Senate are needed because recent Supreme Court decisions have weakened some of the protections provided in the original legislation from 1965.
Republicans in several states have also passed laws that Democrats say make it more difficult to cast a vote, especially for people of color.
“Whether the Senate fails or succeeds in passing this legislation, I will continue doing this job just as I promised Arizonans: delivering results by working with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground as we have on infrastructure, standing up to party politics, and staying focused on doing what is best for Arizona,” Kelly said in the statement.
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