Sinema joins Republicans to block a change in the filibuster for voting rights bills

Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images

By Ariana Figueroa | Arizona Mirror

 Every Republican in the U.S. Senate and two Democrats on Wednesday night rejected a proposed change in the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation, dealing a major blow to attempts in Congress to counter restrictive voting laws passed in the states.

In a 48-52 vote, two Democrats — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — voted against weakening the Senate’s 60-vote threshold specifically to advance two voting rights bills, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Arizona’s other senator, Mark Kelly, voted to change the filibuster.

In a sign of the importance of the moment and the issue, senators voted while seated at their desks, after they spent most of Wednesday debating the special carve-out for the filibuster on voting rights legislation. Applause was heard at the conclusion of the vote.

Democrats said the proposed rule change was carefully crafted and tailored for a one-time use, and necessary because of united GOP opposition to the two massive voting bills, which would set federal standards for voting access.

“History is watching us,” said Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who invoked the civil rights movement and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “Our children are counting on us. And I hope that we will have the courage to do what is right for our communities and for our country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that while he expected the vote to fail, he wanted senators to be on the record on whether to change the rules of the Senate to allow a simple majority to pass the voting rights measure

rbitrary. It’s a choice. … Just because you have an R or a D behind your name doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas. If Speaker Bowers and President Fann and the governor choose only to have R’s on the budget, it will be a long session … but if they choose to negotiate, if they choose to work together, I think it’ll be a much shorter session.

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