The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a voting rights legislation that combined key provisions of two voting bills: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a key priority for Democrats and a point of contention for Republicans.
The voting rights measure faces major obstacles passed ahead of a visit from President Joe Biden to Capitol Hill to make the case for action in the Senate, where it faces fierce opposition from Republicans.
As noted by CNN, the bill will be sent to the Senate where a high-profile fight awaits it amid Republican opposition and resistance from 2 key Democrats: Senators Kristen Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
A senior Democratic aide told the news network that “Biden is planning to attend the Senate Democratic caucus lunch on Thursday to discuss the effort to pass voting bills and potential changes to Senate rules.”
However, Sen.Sinema reiterated her support for the filibuster, which sets up a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to pass in the Senate.
“Eliminating the 60-vote threshold on a party line with the thinnest of possible majorities to pass these bills that I support will not guarantee that we prevent demagogues from winning office,” Sinema said in a speech on the Senate floor while warning against further partisan division, according to CNN.
“Rather, eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come,” she added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Biden plans to make the case directly to members for the new voting legislation.
“This is a defining moment that will divide everything before and everything after when the most fundamental American right that all others flow from, the right to vote and have your vote counted, is at risk,” Psaki said on Wednesday.