Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer admitted Wednesday that Democrats are likely to lose their battle to change the filibuster and as a result won’t be able to pass President Biden’s rewrite of the nation’s voting laws.
The New York Democrat said both measures face long odds because of Republican obstruction.
“Senate Democrats are under no illusion that we face an uphill fight, especially when virtually every Republican has remained staunchly against every attempt to pass voting rights legislation,” he said. ”Win, lose or draw, we are going to vote.”
Mr. Schumer’s remarks came as the GOP is poised to defeat two of the White House’s partisan voting measures via filibuster. After the bills fail, Mr. Schumer is pushing a vote on changing the filibuster to require that lawmakers speak continuously in objection to a piece of legislation.
Under the proposal, the legislation would be eligible to pass with a simple majority vote once the speechmaking was exhausted. Currently, lawmakers are allowed to merely object to ending debate, forcing leaders to round up the 60 votes to keep the legislation alive.
“We are going to vote, especially when the issue relates to the beating heart of our democracy as voting rights does,” said Mr. Schumer.
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Despite the majority leader’s rhetoric, the looming defeat on the filibuster has more to do with Democrats than with Republicans.
Any change to the filibuster requires the support of all 50 Senate Democrats — a unified front that has eluded the majority leader because of the opposition of two moderate Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Both lawmakers have publicly opposed calls to weaken the filibuster, arguing such a change would seriously distort the government’s system of checks and balances.
“Think if you have a situation that we have right now, where you have the executive branch of government and you have Congress they’re all the same party,” Mr. Manchin said. “There is no checks and balances because you sweep right through and the same thing could happen if Republicans control everything.”