WASHINGTON — As the Senate prepares to address election legislation this week, House Majority Leader Jim Clyburn, D.C., emphasized Sunday that Democrats in Congress will not turn their backs on the fight despite that the main obstacles have paved a “dark” path. to electoral reform.
“We’re not giving up,” Clyburn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We are going to fight and we think we will win, because people of good will are going to break their silence and help us win this battle.”
The measures “may be life-sustaining, but, you know, John Lewis and others didn’t give up after the Civil Rights Act of ’64. That’s why he got the Voting Rights Act of ’65,” he said. .
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, made it clear last week that she will not vote to dismantle the filibuster rule to make it easier to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which means that the Senate will miss its self-imposed Martin Luther King Jr. Day deadline to vote on both bills.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that the Senate would not address the legislation until Tuesday, citing “circumstances related to Covid and another potentially dangerous winter storm” approaching Washington.
Sinema said she supports both bills, but still favors the 60-vote rule, which Democrats have no hope of passing due to overwhelming Republican opposition to the bills. Her comments indicated that aggressive efforts by Democrats to persuade her to support changing the rules had failed.
“People tell me they are for this legislation, but they are against the processes that we need to get the legislation,” Clyburn said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “So, I don’t think you’re on the right side of history.”
“It may seem bleak now, but we’re going to keep pushing. We’re not going to budge on this,” she said.
Following Sinema’s comments, President Joe Biden expressed uncertainty Thursday about whether Democrats would be able to pass voting rights legislation after leaving a closed-door lunch with Senate Democrats.
“I’m hoping we can do this, but I’m not sure,” Biden told reporters on Capitol Hill after the meeting. “The honest answer to God is that I don’t know if we can do this.
“If we fail the first time, we can go back and try a second time. We lost this time. We lost this time,” he said.
The House voted 220-203 along party lines last week to pass the two bills in one package. The Senate will receive it as a “message”, which will allow the Democrats to open the debate with a simple majority.
But they are guaranteed to hit a roadblock when they need 60 votes to break a filibuster and end the Senate debate 50-50. The Freedom to Vote Act does not have Republican support. The John Lewis bill has a Republican sponsor: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.