Daily US Times: Senate Republicans have torpedoed a Democratic goal to implement nationwide election rules, a big priority of President Joe Biden’s party.
The bill – which sought to make it easier for American voters to vote – ended up deadlocked 50-50 along party lines, as Senate Republicans and Democrats did not comprise.
President Biden said the issue was the “fight of his presidency”, but some Democrats accuse him of not fighting hard enough.
The bill would have been the most far-reaching election measure since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, advocates say.
It comes as Republican-led states advance proposals – which president Biden has depicted as racially discriminatory – to tighten election laws. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has continued to peddle unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
In March, The Democrats’ For the People Act passed th House of Representatives in a near party-line vote, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in opposing the bill.
But 60 votes are needed in the 100-member US Senate to advance most legislation, and the upper chamber is evenly split 50-50 between the Democratic and Republican party.
Vice-President Kamala Harris was presiding over the chamber as the bill failed. She has been assigned by the White House to push election reform,
After the vote, she said: “The fight’s not over.”
The legislation would have introduced 15 days of early voting, made election day a public holiday, and guaranteed automatic voter registration for anyone with a driver’s licence.
Democrats said the legislation would have also ensured more transparency for certain campaign contributions and limited partisan influence over the drawing of congressional districts.
Democratic party argued the nearly 900-page proposal was critical to democracy, and would safeguard voting access for black voters.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer before the vote: “Are we going to let reactionary state legislatures drag us back into the muck of voter suppression? Are we going to let the most dishonest president in history continue to poison our democracy from the inside?”