US Senate to try to pass voting rights again in September, says Schumer

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks in front of the US Capitol in Washington, United States, August 4, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

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WASHINGTON, Aug.11 (Reuters) – The Democratic-controlled US Senate will attempt to pass a voting bill again next month, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday, although he acknowledged that it is likely that “the Republicans will not join us.”

Schumer said he has met with nine Democratic senators ranging from moderates to progressives, and that they will produce legislation that will be the first order of business when the Senate returns to session in mid-September.

He did not rule out making an exception to Senate rules, such as filibuster, to advance the measure. The Senate is split 50-50 among parties, so Republicans can stop Democratic initiatives under the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes for most laws to move forward.

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In June, Republicans blocked debate over the Democrats’ proposed election overhaul, which was aimed at tackling a wave of voting restrictions passed by Republican-led state legislatures.

“We have made progress and we are showing very clearly to each of our 50 senators that Republicans will not join us. And yet the importance of the right to vote, if any, has grown in the everyone’s mind, “Schumer said at a press conference. conference. “Republicans refusing to support anything on the franchise is no excuse for Democrats to do nothing.”

But if the next attempt is to avoid the same fate as the last, some Democrats, including Senator Patty Murray, have suggested providing an exception to the filibuster rule. Still, other Democrats could stand in the way of such a move, such as moderate Senator Joe Manchin who has said he opposes any exceptions to filibuster.

Currently, there are 50 Republicans, 48 ​​Democrats, and two Independents lining up with Democrats in the Senate. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said voting rights are not a federal issue and should be left to the states.

The Democratic measure that Senate Republicans blocked in June would have ended partisan gerrymandering and revised campaign finance laws, as well as created national standards for recording votes and early voting. It was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.

Civil rights groups say Republican-led efforts to impose restrictions in a number of states would make voting more difficult for many black and Hispanic citizens, many of whom are Democrat supporters.

The state-imposed restrictions follow former Republican President Donald Trump’s false claim that voter fraud was rampant in the 2020 election which he lost to Biden, a Democrat.

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additional reports by Richard Cowan; Editing by Aurora Ellis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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