US Senators Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) have once again stood in the Democrat’s path by expressing their opposition to reforming the senate’s filibuster rule. A consequence of this is the likely failure of the party’s ability to enact the Freedom to Vote Act, and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which had been combined and passed through the House of Representatives on Thursday, to allow them to be enacted simultaneously. Both acts would protect voting rights – the former easing the path to voting and stipulating rules for early voting, while the latter forcing states whose laws were deemed discriminatory, to obtain federal acquiescence when passing voting legislation, prior to it taking effect.
Republicans have sought to stimy voting by passing over 34 laws in 19 states. Further, decisions have been adopted by many Republican controlled legislatures, allowing for partisans to control vote counting and adjudication.
Sinema stated that the filibuster was aimed at protecting the country’s democracy, and that the cure for the disease of division was not further division, despite in 2010 expressing her opposition to the filibuster, and praising how Republicans were able to subvert it when adopting legislation.
Both Sinema and Manchin also halted the Biden agenda by stymieing the Build Back Better Act, which would have provided trillions of dollars in funding to Americans for health and child care, through again refusing to reform the senate’s rules. However, both supported senates reform when it came to increasing the US’s debt ceiling, which went through despite the theoretical requirement to pass the filibuster.
The filibuster is an archaic law, which requires 60 votes from the senate for certain legislation to be passed. Democrats currently only hold 50 seats in the institution and the Republicans 50, with the vice President’s vote being a tiebreaker.