Just days after Senate Republicans
filibustered a commission
to investigate the Jan. 6 attack
on the Capitol
, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer
(N.Y.) announced that the chamber will take up another contentious issue next month: sweeping voting
In a letter to colleagues on Friday, Schumer stated that the Senate will vote on the For the People Act
at the end of June, during the final week of the Senate's work
period. He described the bill as "essential to defending our democracy
, reducing the influence of dark money
and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression
happening in states
across the country in service of the Republican Party
Later Friday, Schumer said at a press conference that “everything is on the table” to get important bills passed, echoing previous remarks about taking action to pass the For the People Act, including changing filibuster rules.
The bill would halt voting changes enacted by Republican states since Trump's defeat, such as restrictions on mail-in ballots, by establishing minimum standards for ballot access that include automatic and same-day registration. It would also reform campaign finance
, establishing a donor matching system that would use public funds to boost small campaign contributions
, and it would require more disclosure of campaign contributions.
Republicans have already launched an attack on the bill, which is a top priority for Democrats
in order to counter efforts across the country to restrict voting access. The For the People Act will put moderate Democrats to the test, especially after Friday's filibuster, the first of Joe Biden
The filibuster rules require 60 votes
to move forward or even debate most legislation. Proponents, including Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin
(W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema
(Ariz.), argue the filibuster encourages bipartisanship
, but in practice, it allows even bipartisan measures to be steamrolled.
However, in order to change filibuster rules, Schumer would need more support, as Democrats only have 50 votes in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris
serving as a tie-breaker.
Manchin and Sinema have both stated that they will not change their positions on the filibuster, but they will face increased pressure to do so now, particularly on the For the People Act, which is important to Democratic voters
Manchin is the only Democratic or independent senator who is not co-sponsoring the legislation, despite saying he supports elements of it. He has said he will only support a measure that has bipartisan support, which is a difficult proposition given Republicans' push to make voting more difficult in response to ex-President Donald Trump
's lies about mass fraud in the 2020 election
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-KY) has stated unequivocally that he will do everything in his power to prevent the For the People Act from becoming law.
“Nobody would have any confidence in [our democracy] if this bill passed,” he said earlier this month during a hearing on the bill.