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U.S. Senate's Schumer mulls passing election reform without Republicans

PoliticsSep 21, 2021 12:36PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference on "Take Action for Puerto Rico" on the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Maria, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer signaled to Republicans on Tuesday that if they block an upcoming election reform bill, he will look for a path around the chamber's filibuster rule to try to pass it with only Democratic support.

Schumer noted that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate who wields great power to advance or block legislation in the narrowly divided chamber, has signed on to try to secure Republican support.

Congressional Democrats are reacting to at least 18 Republican-led states that have enacted laws restricting voting access this year, following Republican former President Donald Trump's false claims the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.

"We're going to take action to make sure we protect our democracy and fight against the disease of voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering and election subversion that is metastasizing at the state level," Schumer said.

Bypassing Republicans would likely require altering or abandoning the Senate's filibuster rule, which requires 60 of the chamber's 100 members to agree on most legislation. Manchin has repeatedly objected to any change to the filibuster, but some Democrats have said a failure to secure Republican backing for the voting rights act could change his mind.

"As Senator Manchin said earlier this year regarding congressional action on voting rights, inaction is not an option," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "I agree with Senator Manchin in that regard."

In recent years, the Senate has eliminated the filibuster rule on executive branch nominations, including presidential picks for the U.S. Supreme Court.

That resulted in Trump being able to name three conservative justices to the high court amid staunch Democratic opposition.

In June, all 50 Senate Republicans blocked an ambitious voting rights bill. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday slammed the door on the new bill.

He rejected the notion it was truly a compromise, calling it "the same Frankenstein's monster" and adding in a Tuesday speech, "The substance is not really changing, so neither will the result."

Schumer has not yet set a date for forcing a vote on a Democratic bill, saying Manchin was still trying to attract some Republican support for it.

U.S. Senate's Schumer mulls passing election reform without Republicans
 

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Comments (4)
Daniel Hodel
Daniel Hodel Sep 22, 2021 12:04AM ET
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Felipe Daniel is a typical piece of Trump trash. Put your red hat on, and jump off a bridge. Thoughts & prayers.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 21, 2021 1:14PM ET
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When Democrats say that Republicans want to “restrict voter access” they are referring to providing ID before voting. The simple act of verifying the identy of voter is considered racist by Democrat party.
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 21, 2021 1:14PM ET
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Wrong. Restricting access includes such Republican tricks as reducing the number of mail-in ballot boxes, reducing the number of hours available to vote, so that more poor people have to miss work and pay in order to vote, moving voting stations to places less accessible to people without cars, etc. Personally I agree that everybody should have to show ID but that's not the only thing being fought over, even though Republicans like to pretend it is.
Daniel Hodel
Daniel Hodel Sep 21, 2021 1:14PM ET
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Hey Felipe! You should get back in the strawberry fields where republicans want you.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Sep 21, 2021 1:13PM ET
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Now thats fascism. Everything Democrats accused Trump of being a dictator is evident in Joe Biden where free speech and medical freedom are gone.
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 21, 2021 1:13PM ET
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Neither free speech nor medical freedom are gone. Nobody is forcing you to get a vaccine, or throwing you in jail if you refuse. And the government is not the one determining what you can or can't say on private social media platforms. You know nothing about actual fascism.
Transparent Labs
Transparent Labs Sep 21, 2021 11:30AM ET
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Traitor & Marxist... not a conspiracy theory! Do your HW & wake up. Trying to sac the U.S. sovereignty. Congress needs to be fired and replaced with term limits immediately. Doing the same as the Senate did to Rome.
 
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