Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, accused two moderate Democratic senators of not caring about minorities in their opposition to voting rights bills.
Mrs. Waters accused Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona of “holding up” the Democratic agenda, after they refused to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the legislation.
“They have sent the signal. They have been clear about it. They don’t care about minorities. They don’t care about Blacks. They don’t care about people in their own districts who they’re going to deny their voting rights and undermine their voting rights,” Mrs. Waters said Sunday on MSNBC.
Mrs. Waters added that Ms. Sinema and Mr. Manchin will “undermine the rights of minorities and Blacks” if they don’t support ending the filibuster.
Senate Democrats, who sought to take action on the legislation by Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, had vowed to muster votes on a voting rights bill or change Senate rules to pass the legislation.
Currently, 60 votes are needed to end a filibuster.
Eliminating the 60-vote requirement, referred to as the “nuclear option,” would allow the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes.
Since no Republicans have indicated support for voting legislation, removing the filibuster would be the only potential path to passing a bill on voting rights.
Last week, Mr. Manchin reiterated his support for keeping the filibuster, warning of one-party rule.
“For those who believe that bipartisanship is impossible, we have proven them wrong,” Mr. Manchin said. “Ending the filibuster would be the easy way out. I cannot support such a perilous course for this nation when elected leaders are sent to Washington to unite our country by putting politics and party aside.”
In a floor speech last week, Ms. Sinema also noted her continued support for the filibuster, asserting that the minority party should have a place at the table.
“American politics are cyclical and granting of power in Washington D.C. is exchanged regularly by the voters from one party to another,” she said. “But what is the legislative filibuster other than a tool … that millions of Americans represented by the minority party have a voice in the process?”