The leader of the Democratic majority in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, on Wednesday laid the groundwork for a debate in the Upper House on the right to vote in the country, although it will be difficult for him to overcome the fierce republican opposition to an electoral reform.
A day after US President Joe Biden urged his party to “protect democracy” in the face of increasing voting restrictions passed at the state level, Democrats began to move chips on the issue in the Senate.
In a letter sent to his colleagues, Schumer announced that found a way to evade the blockade that the Republicans had imposed until now to any debate in the full Senate on two bills designed to strengthen the right to vote at the national level.
“The Senate will finally debate the legislation on the right to vote, and then each senator will have to decide whether to pass that legislation to protect our democracy “wrote the Democratic leader, according to the letter obtained by various media.
To avoid the requirement of 60 votes in favor necessary to start the debate on a measure, the Lower House – with a Democratic majority – will amend a different bill this week, which has to do with NASA, to add the text of one of the electoral reform proposals.
By using that mechanism, the Democrats – who control 50 seats in the Senate – they will only need a simple majority of 51 votes to initiate the debate on the subject, although to approve it they would need the support of 60 senators, something that Schumer himself acknowledged “is not going to happen.”
The alternative, backed by Biden, is to change the Senate rules to get the electoral reform passed by a simple majority, with the votes of Democratic senators and the runoff of Vice President Kamala Harris, who heads the chamber.
According to Schumer, the debate on electoral reform could be followed by an attempt to change those norms, although to do so it will take absolute unity in the Democratic ranks, and at least two senators have expressed doubts about it.
To advance that goal, Biden will meet with Democratic senators this Thursday afternoon to try to convince them that it is “urgent” to change the rules of the Senate to approve an electoral reform, according to the White House.
The reason for that urgency is that, according to Democrats, the Republican Party is preparing the ground at the state level to make it difficult to vote in the next electoral cycles and, potentially, turn around a result that does not favor them in the legislative elections of this year and the presidential elections of 2024.
Biden’s request to change the Senate rules has irritated the Republican leader in that chamber, Mitch McConnell, who this Wednesday accused him in a speech of behaving in a “non-presidential” manner and of not being “at the height of his office.” .
(With information from EFE)
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