Voting Rights Bill Creeps Closer To The Senate Floor, But Now Comes The Hard Part For Dems | Talking Points Memo

Tuesday’s Senate committee mark-up of Democrats’ sprawling democracy overhaul lasted more than hours hours, included dozens of amendment votes and featured plenty of sharp partisan barbs about a Democratic “takeover” of elections and Republicans’ willingness to double down on President Trump’s “big lie.” The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration deadlocked on partisan lines on whether to approve the bill — meaning that Democrats will have to use a complicated parliamentary maneuver to get the so-called For the People Act on the Senate floor.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Republicans, fearing that they might someday be held accountable by actual voters, flailed randomly in futile fashion during committee proceedings.


This is really the test of whether Democrats will weaken the filibuster to pass the bills they want that aren’t related to budget issues. It’s possible they push on this while the Lewis act comes through the system and then pivot to that one, daring Republicans not to support voting rights…when (not if) they filibuster that one it’s, in many ways, the easier sell to break the filibuster. Both bills need to pass though, the Lewis act will stop some of the racist intent of Republican actions against voting rights, but it won’t handle a lot of the other things that are corrupting our system…this bill has to get through for that.

And, honestly, I think it will in the end…they will have to do something to make Manchin happy, but there are a couple things in this bill that could be softened without damaging it too much. He has to understand that the Republican party is moving against free and fair elections, and are doing everything they can to cheat in the next one…these bills may not stop that, but they will make it harder to get away with the cheating without the blatant actions that would break the nation (not that I won’t put those past Republicans at this point…I now doubt a Republican Congress would have certified Biden’s win). It’s too big of a threat to the Democratic party, and the nation, for anyone to sit back and do nothing…the posturing is to avoid the appearance of a “takeover” as much as possible (even though the Republicans would claim that no matter what). I think that all goes away in order to make our election system have a chance against Republican cheating.


Sort of OT


I’m glad you’re optimistic. Sadly, I am not. I think it’s too much for Manchin to swallow. If, god willing, we maintain control of the House and the Senate (the latter being easier, I think), we can pass it all. I think a Democrat will win in PA or WI.


This bill has to pass. This is not a prediction, just an observation.

Every time I’m about to post “If things don’t change, there will be violence,” I have to remind myself that we’ve already had a violent insurrection that resulted in five deaths and hand-to-hand combat on live TV.

Every Republican is Trump now. They have adopted his persona and his tactics, which I would not be surprised to have learned he had picked up from all the oligarchs, dictators, and mafia guys he admires. He’s sick, the base is sick, McCarthy, Cruz, Hawley, and Paul are sick; they’re all sick.


Very effective, succinct, and accurate way of phrasing it. Ugh, it’s so goddamn scary.


Republicans have this theory that the filibuster promotes bipartisanship

See how compromising proponents of the filibuster are?


The legislation’s chief sponsors — and the outside voting rights groups who are spending big to support it — have been insistent that they don’t want to break the bill into smaller pieces that might get broader, bipartisan support.

“The different parts of the bill are very important and they support support each other,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), a lead sponsor of the bill, told TPM on Tuesday.

This is exactly right.

Passing only pieces of the bill is like building a car with only some of its parts. Don’t be surprised if the car doesn’t operate like you expect.


Yes, very compromised.


Well said. Democrats must pass it and they know it. Manchin will get what he needs and will vote with his party.


I think the Democrats might reconsider their opposition to voter ID since that would be a bone to throw the Republicans and something that polls show the public heavily favors. But–the bill would have to have a provision that states must allow a wide array of acceptable forms of ID. Or, that the states must provide the ID to every registered voter with no inconvenience to the voter. It would take away one of their perennial gripes.


Hey, Manchin (and Sinema). Are you going to uphold the Constitution? Or hang with your Republican anti-democracy friends?

End the fucking filibuster - at the least for legislation that upholds Constitutional rights. Such as the right to vote and have your vote counted. I think that’s a part of something called DEMOCRACY!


I’ve been thinking for a couple weeks now that the John Lewis Act should be prioritised over S1 for several reasons:

It has a long history as law with broad bipartisan support, so it’s not setting up a new and complex system that the RRR’s can call a federal take-over of elections law.

I think it will be the better hill to force the conservative Dems to die on or accede to reform of the filibuster, since the law has such a long, storied, and broadly supported history. That reform might be a carve-out for laws that address civil and voting rights, which has already been floated by Senate Dem leadership. They can also point to the flood of state laws limiting voting access by RRR states that were introduced immediately following the Shelby ruling as proof that it had had a controlling effect that was broadly supported and as such needs to be restored.

It restores tools the DOJ can put to use in a short time, perhaps immediately, that go straight at the racially biased measures several states have already passed and many more are planning to pass, including the important checks on the racially biased gerrymanders that are sure to come out of RRR-controlled states later his year. In contrast, most of the provisions of S1 will get tied up in court challenges and may not take effect until too late to influence the 2022 elections.


“One Piece at a Time”, Johnny Cash, songwriter Wayne Kemp


Republicans use voter ID as a weapon to keep poorer and younger people from voting…both of those lean Democratic, so it benefits them to do this. That’s why student IDs aren’t allowed, and why DMVs are closed or moved so getting there is difficult if you’re dependent on time off from work or public transportation. The things that you suggest are some of the ways to make sure that voter ID is fair…basically, make it the responsibility of the government to supply and verify ID, not the people. And, that is why Republicans will be against these changes, it takes away one of their best ways to block voters.


Liz Cheney said this evening that a bed rock conservative value is … the rule of law. I disagree. I say it is a bed rock American value. This idea does not belong to republicans or democrats alone but to everyone. Or it ought to. After all it is carved in stone at the Supreme Court building.


It wasn’t that long ago that Josh Hawley, who clerked for John Roberts and was AG of Missouri, was mentioned as a possible candidate for a Supreme Court appointment. Murica.

To me you have hit on the key issue and the real test for the Democrats.

What happens, should some meaningful legislation get through and is again gutted by Chief Injustice Roberts and the not conservative but Republican Supreme Court?


I wish the Democratic Party had the killer instinct our opponents have.