Political Bullsh!t

The Senate gets back to work under the shadow of the 1/6 anniversary

The events scheduled for this week marking the 1/6 insurrection will potentially serve as a reminder to Manchin and Sinema as to what’s at stake if voting rights and elections aren’t secured. There is increasing outside pressure from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and from a 60-member strong coalition of public interest groups to break the filibuster for democracy.

In a letter to colleagues sent Monday, Schumer vowed to advance the bill before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Jan. 17. “Make no mistake about it: this week Senate Democrats will make clear that what happened on Jan. 6 and the one-sided, partisan actions being taken by Republican-led state legislatures across the country are directly linked, and we can and must take strong action to stop this antidemocratic march,” Schumer wrote.

“The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history,” he continued. “The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history. As former Senator Robert Byrd famously said, Senate Rules ‘must be changed to reflect changed circumstances.’ Put more plainly by Senator Byrd, ’Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past.’”

“The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic,” he concluded, promising “ the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, summed it up for the Wall Street Journal. “You can think of January as a moment when two different forces are converging,” said Merkley. “One is the functionality of the Senate, and the other is the functionality of our republic.” To that end, Merkley and a core group of senators have come up with a few possible approaches: eliminate the 60-vote hurdle to begin debate on a bill, but leaving in place the 60-vote requirement for ending debate; an effort aimed at limiting debate time and establishing a set number of potential amendment votes; and a third putting the onus on Republicans to keep blocking legislation, forcing 41 Republicans to be available at all times vote against a bill.

“I think you’re going to be seeing more detail now that we’ve got at least some of the outlines of a proposal—or more than one—that would create a process where it might take days and even weeks of floor time, but we’ll have a full airing or a full hearing on big issues,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, told the WSJ.

While the next few weeks look to be primarily focused on bringing Manchin and Sinema around on saving democracy, negotiations will continue with Manchin on saving the economy and American families. Last month, his bombastic announcement on Fox News that he was a “no” on BBB didn’t end negotiations. They continued through the Christmas break and are still going.



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