On Tuesday, President Joe Biden
chastised Senate Republicans
for blocking debate on the For the People Act
, a broad piece of legislation aimed at improving and protecting voting rights
It was the “suppression of a bill to end voter suppression
,” Biden said in a statement following the vote, in which all 50 Republicans voted against debating the bill. Though the Democrats control the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris
as the party’s tie-breaker, current Senate rules allow Republicans to block any bill that does not receive at least 60 votes
“Unfortunately, a Democratic
stand to protect our democracy
was met with a solid Republican wall of opposition,” Biden said, adding that “Senate Republicans opposed even a debate — let alone considering — legislation to protect the right to vote and our democracy.”
Democrats, who have prioritized the bill written by late civil rights
leader and Georgia
congressman John Lewis (D), have “stood against the ongoing assault
on voter suppression that represents a Jim Crow era in the twenty-first century,” according to Biden.
The For the People Act, as it stands now, would establish national rules regarding voter registration and early, absentee, and in-person voting, which have become the subject of more than 250 voting restriction bills introduced by Republican governors and state legislators.
Other provisions of the bill deal
with partisan gerrymandering, campaign financing, foreign lobbying regulations, and cybersecurity
Democrats will not abandon the issue, according to Biden.
“I’ll have more to say about this next week, but let me be clear: this fight is far from over — far from over. I’ve been involved in this work
my entire career, and we are going to ramp up our efforts to overcome once more — for the people, for our very democracy.”
The bill can only be passed if Senate Democrats
unanimously vote in favor of changing the chamber's filibuster
rules, which allow Republicans to block legislation without a majority.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin
(W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema
(Ariz.) continue to oppose eliminating or weakening the filibuster, making a majority vote to end the rules unlikely.