Aug 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ted Cruz blocks 4 a.m. attempt to pass Democrats' voting rights package

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) attempt to pass Democrats' signature voting rights package — a revised version of the "For the People Act" — in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: The sweeping federal elections overhaul is intended to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican-led states, but has no chance of winning the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.

  • Schumer attempted to pass the bill via unanimous consent, which requires just one senator to object in order to kill the vote.
  • Senate Republicans filibustered the "For the People Act" for the first time in June. Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has also voiced his opposition to some elements of the package.

Driving the news: Immediately after the Senate passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution at 4 a.m. ET, after 15 hours of amendment votes, Schumer attempted to pass the voting rights package via unanimous consent.

  • Cruz immediately objected, saying: "This bill would constitute a federal government takeover of elections. It would constitute a massive power grab by Democrats."
  • "We have reached a point in this chamber where Republicans appear to oppose any measure no matter how common sense to protect voting rights and strengthen our democracy," Schumer responded.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also denounced the Democrats' attempt to bring up the voting legislation.
  • "Here in the dead of night, they also want to start tearing up the ground rules of our democracy and writing new ones of course on a purely partisan basis," McConnell said.

Worth noting: Cruz also blocked Senate Democrats' attempts to confirm a number of President Biden's foreign policy nominees, attacking Biden's decision to allow the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline to move forward.

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