Nov 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans block John Lewis voting rights bill

McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Senate Republicans filibustered the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act on Wednesday, denying it the 60 votes needed to advance the bill and start debate.

Why it matters: The voting rights bill narrowly passed the House in August, with no Republican support. The filibuster dealt a devasting blow to Democrats who have struggled to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican-controlled states.

  • A bipartisan group of senators had spent months negotiating the bill and issued a revised version Tuesday that aimed to build "broader support" in the Senate.
  • The revised bill introduced several changes to the original voting rights measure, namely clarifying what factors courts can consider in determining if Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act has been violated.

What they're saying: "Provisions in the bill have passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support five times," President Biden said in a statement.

  • "The right to vote is sacred and constitutional. It's fundamental to all other rights," he added. "The soul of America is at stake."
  • "Let there be a debate and let there be a vote."

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