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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) laid out the Senate's April legislative priorities on Tuesday, saying that Democrats will attempt to work with Republicans but the caucus would find a way to move forward.

What he's saying: "We will try to work with our Republican colleagues on a bipartisan basis when and where we can. But if they choose to obstruct, rather than work with us to deliver for American families, we must make progress nonetheless. Failure is not an option," Schumer said in a letter to Senate Democrats.

  • Schumer would not rule out getting rid of the filibuster to achieve his goals, saying at a press conference that "everything is on the table."
  • "I believe that big bold action is an imperative. We must get that done. And we prefer our Republican colleagues to work with us. ... But if they don't, our caucus will come together and we will discuss the best way to produce that big bold action," he said.

Details: The Senate will focus on three specific areas: Voting rights and civil rights, economic recovery and jobs, and health and gun safety.

  • Schumer said that once the Senate returns to session, they will first take up Sen. Mazie Hirono's (D-Hawaii) COVID-19 hate crimes legislation, which would designate a Department of Justice official to oversee hate crimes directly related to the pandemic.
  • Schumer pledged to bring gun control legislation to the Senate floor.
  • Schumer said that he would hold a vote on the election and corruption bill known as the For the People Act.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which looks to strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

Of note: All of these bills would require a 60-vote majority should Schumer and Democrats keep the filibuster in place.

What's next: The Senate is set to return on April 12.

Go deeper

Gun control groups join fight against filibuster

A hearse carries the body of Police Officer Eric Talley, killed in the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

Gun control groups are joining the progressive fight to end the filibuster as the Senate voting rule threatens their goal of passing comprehensive gun reform.

Why it matters: The House recently passed two gun bills, but neither stand a chance of getting the 60 votes needed in the 50-50 Senate. Senate Democrats have already been talking about getting rid of the filibuster to pass other legislation through a simple 51-vote majority.

McConnell claims "states are not engaging in trying to suppress voters"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) claimed during a hearing Wednesday that Democrats' signature voting rights bill, the "For the People Act," is unnecessary because "states are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever."

Reality check: Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to pass measures to make it more difficult to vote by limiting mail-in ballots, implementing new voter ID requirements and slashing registration options.

Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

A "nuclear winter" foretold

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A Senate operating in the "nuclear winter" Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promises if the filibuster is eliminated is one in which lawmakers face incessant roll calls and other inconveniences turning their comfortable lives into a living hell.

Why it matters: In employing apocalyptic language to warn about a "scorched-earth" response, the Kentucky Republican is trying to scare Democrats away from the tool they're considering to break through the GOP's own political obstinance.