Samuel Case, FISM News
Senate Democrats are once again threatening to break the filibuster in order to push through their legislative priorities via a simple majority vote. However, there has been no indication that Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have changed their stance in opposing an end to the 60-vote threshold, making the threat much more bark than bite.
In the last several months of 2021 Democrats threatened to end the filibuster, or at the very least carve out an exception to it in order to address the debt limit. This time around, the Democrats cries for changes to the rule come in regard to voting expansion.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter on Monday he will force a vote on changing the Senate rules by January 17 in order to pass a progressive voting overhaul bill known as the Freedom to Vote Act.
“The Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections,” Schumer wrote.
In his letter Schumer attempted to also link ending the filibuster with the January 6 riot, arguing that “January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness, an effort to delegitimize our election process, and the Senate must advance systemic reforms to repair our democracy or else the events of that day will not be an aberration—they will be the new norm.”
Make no mistake: This week, @SenateDems will make clear what happened on January 6th is directly linked to the one-sided, partisan actions being taken by GOP-led state legislatures across the country. We can and must take strong action to stop this anti-democratic march. pic.twitter.com/tLkpfObZAS
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 3, 2022
Regardless of the majority leader’s threats, efforts to end the filibuster will remain dead on arrival if Sinema and Manchin don’t flip their vote, as amending the Senate rule would require all 50 Democrats to vote in favor of the change along with a tie breaking vote from the Vice President.
Manchin last told reporters that any rule changes, such as ending the filibuster, “should be done to where we all have input in this rule change, because we’re all going to have to live with it. Because we’ll be in the minority sometime and then in the majority, back and forth.”
At the same time a Sinema spokesperson told reporters that the Arizona Senator supports the filibuster, “to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy which would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions, and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government.”