Democrats seek vote path amid Republican blockade

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“At the end of the day, it’s going to be about getting Republicans or restoring order,” Tester said in an interview, conceding that winning Republican votes seemed unlikely. “I’m keeping it open,” he said of the possibility of revising the rules.

Mr King and other Democrats stressed that adopting a rule change would not mean the complete elimination of obstruction on legislation and that a more nuanced approach such as requiring a obstruction. Old fashioned “talking”, where enemies must speak out to fight legislation, could be the end result.

“A number of us have different options, ways of doing this,” Mr. Kaine said. “The leader has a real sense of urgency about this, which I share, and he thinks we need to do something by Thanksgiving.”

Any move would certainly meet extreme resistance from Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, and his fellow Republicans. Mr McConnell again attacked election legislation on Wednesday as a takeover by Democrats and vowed to continue to employ filibuster to prevent them from adopting policies he and his Republican troops oppose.

“The same rotten core is still there,” McConnell said of the new legislation. “As long as Senate Democrats remain fixated on their radical agenda, this body will continue to do the job the editors told it to do and stop terrible ideas in their tracks.”

For the Democrats, it is the Republicans who are radical and who lead the Senate towards a dysfunction never envisaged by the founders of the nation. Even as they rely on filibuster to thwart electoral protections in Washington, Republicans across the nation’s states are using unsubstantiated allegations of 2020 election fraud to justify further voting restrictions that could hamper the ability of minorities and others to vote in the future.

Democratic legislation seeks to counter these efforts. The bill would establish federal standards for advance and postal voting and make election day a national holiday, among other provisions. It would also require voters to provide some form of identification before voting, a requirement many Democrats had previously resisted, although this was far less restrictive than similar measures imposed by Republicans.

After Wednesday’s vote, Democrats essentially gave up on winning Republicans. Now they must persuade a few of their own members that the need to pass electoral legislation trumps allegiance to Senate procedure.


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