Manchin and Sinema torpedo filibuster repeal yet again


(Senate Television via AP)

In this image from Senate Television, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, a visit intended to deliver a jolt to the party’s long-stalled voting and elections legislation. Before he arrived Sinema blunted the bill’s chances further, declaring she could not support a “short sighted” rules change to get past a Republican blockade.

Colin Moorhead II, Staff Reporter

Despite the efforts from Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans have blocked two attempts at passing voting legislation. The legislation was a push from Democrats across the country to increase federal oversight of elections. This would create national standards for all states, such as the expansion of vote-by-mail and the establishment of  Election Day as a federal holiday. 

The intense night of debate and controversy started with the vote to end debate on the legislation. This would have allowed the Democrats to push forward with a vote and not let the Republicans create further delay. However, the vote did not succeed in gathering the 60 votes needed. However, with their close margin of the Senate, this failure was expected by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushed for a vote on eliminating the filibuster within Senate rules. However, with a 52-48 vote, the Democrats remained unsuccessful in their attempt to alter the rules regarding the filibuster. 

Both Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin voted with the Republican base to prevent the altering of the filibuster. In a statement released by Sinema, she claimed, “actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government.” 

Following the controversy of the 2020 presidential election, several states, including Georgia, have passed new legislation regarding their system of voter registration and ballot collection. To many Democrats, these restrictions were a form of racist voter suppression. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), argued these states, “blatantly [removed] more polling places from the counties where Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented.” However, as Sen. Mitch McConnell  (R-KY) explains, many Republicans view Democrats as, “[not] about securing citizens’ rights…it’s about expanding politicians’ power.” 

Colin Swearingen, professor of Political Science at John Carroll University, argued that this vote was rushed through by Democrats because “ You need to bring it to some sort of vote to show people you took it seriously.” He later stated, “[Democrats] can get a lot done in just a year, so if you know you are going to lose the Senate then why not go big?” This helps explain the context behind the Democrats’ pressure to vote, despite their lack of support from members in their own party. 

Colin Moorhead II is a junior from Wadsworth, Ohio, and is a World News staff writer for The Carroll News. He can be reached through email at [email protected] or on Instagram @colinmoorhead2.